By Ryan Carson
It’s a Friday night on campus. The Bandersnatch is hopping with its hundreds of customers while the Black Box is putting on the latest student performance and Denison’s many athletic teams are entertaining students and townies alike. If none of these varied activities draw your fancy, there is another late night activity that is all too popular among Denison students: vandalism.
Campushealthandsafety.org describes vandalism of student and university property as, “a multifaceted problem that takes many forms, including destroying property, setting off fire alarms, stealing, and writing graffiti.”
Its prevalence on campuses all around the United States has made it a systemic problem that affects not only the student body but the faculty and staff that are forced to clean up what others have destroyed.
The Campus Climate Watch page on Denison’s homepage lists an increase in the number of vandalism incidents in the 2014-2015 academic year as compared to the previous 2013-2014 academic term.
Last year there were a total of 2,151 reported incidents of vandalism as compared to 2,136 incidents in 2013-2014.
Per the figures provided, in 2014-2015 Denison University spent $101,913 to repair the cost of damages. That figure is an increase of over $18,013 more than Denison spent in the previous academic term (2013-2014) where the cost of damages was $83,900.
The rising cost of vandalism in the last academic term equated to a cost per student of $47.38. This cost per student increased by $8.10 from the year before where the cost per student was $39.28 (2013-2014).
As vandalism has become more prevalent on campus in the past year, the social culture surrounding the incidents has been passed down from upperclassmen to first-years.
Priscilla Sullivan ’19 who currently resides in Shorney Residence Hall states, “I remember when you join the Facebook group and everyone asking a bunch of questions when people found out housing… the comments were like they ripped the water fountain down last year… it’s a war zone.”
“I know on other floors they have ripped down the whole [bulletin] board off the wall. Whatever happens is pretty blatant and it’s hard to hide. People just do it to be rude. I think it’s a small number but they do a lot of damage,” said Sullivan.
As vandalism is a recurring issue in first year dorms, Shorney Head Resident McKenna Sokol ‘16 discussed some of the challenges that RA’s face while attempting to look after large dorms like Shorney Hall.
“It is always worse on the weekends… for Halloween that weekend someone got two bean bag chairs and ripped them open, it looked like snow,” said Sokol.
“So much vandalism happens and you hardly ever catch it, and a lot of the times if you do catch it, it’s you walk out of your room and catch someone at two in the morning,” said Sokol
While many individuals may consider vandalism an issue most prevalent in first year dorms, the acts of vandalism can be found throughout campus.
Quenton Richards ‘16, who is the Head Resident of the Senior Apartments, stressed how acts of vandalism affect members of the facilities services and cleaning departments. “If there is something … beer cans, vomit on the floors and then housekeeping has to come out and that’s actually work for them as well.”
“It would be awesome if the residents everywhere could be like, ‘hey don’t do that’… It’s something that has to change with the culture to where it has a very negative social stigma all around,” said Richards.
Photo Courtesy of Joshua McCartney