UPDATED 06/03/11 8:04 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago are on alert, a day after a female student was attacked just off campus.

 UIC issued a crime alert to make sure students – many of whom stick around for the summer – are aware of what happened and are extra-vigilant as the weekend approaches.

Around 2:40 a.m. Thursday, UIC police say a female student walked alone off campus in the 800 block of West 16th Street, near the Halsted Street/UIC BNSF line Metra stop. She was by herself at the time because she and her boyfriend had gone their separate ways after arguing at a bar.

As the woman headed down the block, she reported three men approached her from behind. She said one man grabbed her breast and tore her blouse.

The woman managed to break free, and just then, a car passed by. As the driver slowed down, the three men took off.

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UIC police have advised students to be aware of their surroundings, and travel in groups when possible – particularly after dark.

They also advise using well-lit walkways, and always look for the nearest emergency call boxes when on campus. There are more than 1,500 such call boxes across campus.

Also, make sure the number for UIC police is on your speed-dial. The emergency number for UIC police is (312) 355-5555. From a campus phone, students can just dial 5-5555.

The school year at UIC is over, but many students — particularly in graduate students — remain on campus.

The assailant who grabbed the woman is described as an African-American male, 17 to 23 years old, about 6 feet 4 inches tall with a thin build, UIC police said. He was wearing a white or gray shirt, blue jeans, a black hat and shoes.

Residents of the neighborhood were frightened after learning the news.

 “We don’t usually have that type of crime around here. It’s mostly a lot of vandalism and theft,” Ron Gordon told CBS 2’s Mai Martinez.

“It’s very scary. My house is so close. Now I feel like I have to have the alarm on all the time,” Martha Anzures said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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