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Mt. Holyoke professor allegedly beat a colleague with a fire poker, garden shears

A Mount Holyoke College art professor was arraigned Friday on charges of attempted murder after she allegedly attacked a colleague with a rock, fire poker, and garden shears while the college was on winter break, according to authorities.

Rie Hachiyanagi, 48, of South Hadley, was arraigned in Orange District Court after she allegedly beat the victim in the victim’s Leverett home the night of Dec. 23 and into Dec. 24, the Northwestern District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

She was arrested Dec. 24, said Mary Carey, a spokeswoman for District Attorney David E. Sullivan, in an e-mail.

The victim suffered “severe injuries,” but is expected to survive, she said.

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Christian Feuerstein, a spokeswoman for Mount Holyoke, a women’s college in South Hadley, confirmed in a brief phone interview that Hachiyanagi and the victim are both faculty members. She said in a statement that the incident took place off-campus during winter recess.

“This individual has been placed on administrative leave from the College and is not permitted on our campus pending further review of the incident. We will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies in support of their ongoing investigations,” she said in the statement.

Hachiyanagi faces charges of armed assault to murder a person over 60, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, one count of mayhem, and one count of armed assault in a dwelling, according to the district attorney’s office.

She is being held in the Franklin County House of Correction without bail and is next due in Orange District Court on Feb. 4, according to the office.

Hachiyanagi, who is known for her work with paper, has been with the college since 2004 and is an art professor and chair of the art studio department, according to Mount Holyoke’s website. The Globe reviewed her 2012 show at the college, “Inspirare.”

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“We take very seriously the safety and well-being of every member of our community, and the College is providing support to impacted parties as appropriate,” Feuerstein, the college spokeswoman, said.


Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.