When a parent or a prospective student comes to Denison, we hear the same comment so often that it is expected: “Denison is so pretty.” It is. A person couldn’t tell now because of the bitter cold, but when the leaves are green, the trees are full, and the deer are frolicking across East Quad, Denison is undeniably… pretty. But who would think that behind all this prettiness would be tens of thousands of dollars worth of vandalism per year? Who would think that a school that costs so much to attend, and with so much liberal arts prestige, the students who are supposed to be the exceptional can destroy property with no remorse or accountability?
Let’s talk numbers. Just simply breaking the glass of a fire extinguisher case costs $45, and $40 of that is labor. When we break things at 3 a.m. after a hard night of partying and labor is called in to rectify our messes, they charge $120 just for the inconvenience. Glass doors that are shattered cost on average $200 to repair, but the price can climb to three times as much as that.
And the ultimate test of vandalism, the one that seems to be most lauded by a drunk circle of guys on a Friday night is succeeding in ripping a water fountain from the wall. But it pays to do something this “legendary”. Repairing and replacing a water fountain? More than $900. Getting away with vandalism and no one ever knowing what you did? Priceless.
As a community, we are better than this. We are supposed to be that college on the hill full of smart kids. Instead, we’re that college with the kids that have racked up over $40,000 worth of damage this year alone. Some of us will say, “It’s not me that’s doing it, okay!” And what we say is, no it’s not you. But it may be your friend, or you just might be seeing the person who is doing these things. You have a moral obligation to report these people and their actions.
If we’re really adults, and if Denison is truly preparing us for the real world, we need to start acting like it. It is time to hold each other accountable and create a culture that discourages vandalism. After all, don’t we want to keep Denison pretty?
*Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board, consisting of the Editor-in- Chief, section editors and assistants.