April 24, 2014
On April 23, students received yet another all campus email reporting incidents of vandalism. In the last semester, Campus Safety reported damage to Sadove, residence halls, the library and academic buildings. This damage has now extended to include Professor “Doc” Woods’ car. While destroying academic buildings is a problem, the fact that this issue has reached faculty property is even more unacceptable. The Student Assembly campaign that will be rolled out soon may be too little, too late.
The diversity and race issue has been the talk of the campus over the course of this academic year, pushing vandalism to the wayside. Instead, they should have been dealt with simultaneously; vandalism is arguably a bigger issue and certainly one that is easier to fix. It may take years to make sure students of all backgrounds feel comfortable at this school, but vandalism can be reduced with simple campaigns, such as the “Stop Breaking Shit” one used last year. Student Assembly held numerous town halls on different subjects last year; this semester the only one focused on diversity and inclusiveness. A town hall on vandalism may be the best way to brainstorm ideas and combat this problem.
In order to remedy this problem, we must combat its main causes. Intoxicated students commit the majority of vandalism on this campus. Therefore, the best campaigns will attack both the vandalism and this school’s alcohol culture. With so many students going out almost every weekend with the goal to black out, destructive decisions including vandalism are more likely to happen. While Student Assembly and other organizations have held several meetings on both of these subjects, they have not done a lot to combat the problem. Simple steps ,such as teaching students to drink responsibly and to understand why students feel the need to black out could make a big difference in this school’s alcohol culture and hopefully prevent further vandalism.
With the success of the “Stop Breaking Shit” campaign last spring, students can expect another successful anti-vandalism campaign. The real question lies in why this campaign ended after the spring semester. College organizations should have realized that vandalism was still a threat in the fall and continued similar campaigns throughout the year. Vandalism seems to always be a problem on this campus, so it is a mystery as to why they took an almost year long hiatus on anti-vandalism campaigns. While Student Assembly does not have an ultimate power over students, simple reminders such as last year’s campaign seem to help.
Regardless of campaigns and discussions, the job of reducing the vandalism on this campus ultimately falls to the students. The administration and Sudent Assembly cannot be there on Friday or Saturday nights. It is important for students to use the buddy system and stick by their intoxicated friends late at night and make sure they get home safely. One person acting alone likely committed a number of these acts of vandalism. If students stick by each other late at night, they can likely reduce the vandalism committed on this campus.