Over the past few weeks, the College has been plagued by several incidents of vandalism on campus. Since it began Oct. 16, 10 College buildings and landmarks have been defaced with spray-paint. The estimated cost of repairing the damage is $2,500.
Trinity Church, the River Center, the ARC, the Alumni Lodge, the Bell Tower, Calvert Hall, Kent Hall, Schaefer Hall, Prince George’s Hall and the bridge over St. John’s Pond have each been spray painted with various symbols and obscenities. According to Public Safety Sergeant Tony Brooks, the separate acts of vandalism seem to be caused by the same person or group of people. Symbols, lettering and paint color are consistent from incident to incident.
The community garden behind Daugherty Palmer Commons was also vandalized. According to Brooks, plants were pulled up and stakes were thrown over. However, because there was not spray paint, he does not believe the incident is related. “They would have left their mark,” he said.
Provost and Acting President Larry Vote, along with Faculty Senate President Bob Paul and SGA President Justin Perry, sent a letter to students regarding the vandalism. In the letter, they expressed concern for both the monetary and social costs of the damage. They equated the cost of damage to “the funding of twelve St. Mary’s Projects, eleven windows being replaced in residence halls, or two comedians sponsored by Programs Board.”
Many students are taking a stance against the defacement of College property. “For us to now have to spend such a large amount of money on vandalism that is in direct opposition to our College’s values is sad and extremely disrespectful to those who have made had to make sacrifices for the College. This money could have been far better spent on furthering our College’s mission,” said Danielle Doubt, one of the SGA Senators to sponsor a resolution regarding campus vandalism.
On Oct. 27, the SGA passed a resolution to not condone acts of vandalism on campus and to thank the Physical Plant for their extra time, energy, and resources in responding to the vandalism. “I think it is important for SGA to reach into the vandalism issue because there was an overwhelming feeling from SGA that this isn’t what St. Mary’s is about,” said Perry.
According to Brooks, Public Safety received a tip last week that could be helpful in finding those responsible. He urges students who have information to come forth anonymously.
Over the past twenty years on campus, Brooks explained that the only incident comparable to the vandalism occurring on campus were pots for cigarette butts being thrown over across campus. “I’ve never seen anything like this though. This takes the cake,” he said.