Rowan students woke up Friday, Sept. 16 with an email in their student email accounts regarding recent vandalism on campus.
Assistant Vice President for Residential Learning and Inclusion Programs Travis Douglas said more reported accounts have occurred since the start of the semester.
According to Douglas, a variety of vandalism acts occurred primarily in the resident halls. He noted that Holly Pointe Commons experienced bathroom signs and doors being ripped off walls. Another hall reported a Trump campaign poster owned by a student being defaced.
He also noted that the Chamberlain Student Center was recently reported to be defaced with chalk but did not specify where and how.
Douglas believed that the email sent to students will help decrease vandalism and strengthen the school community.
“We really want to make sure that we get out ahead of it so that as a community, we’re supporting positive behaviors in the community,” Douglas said. “So that we’re not seeing vandalism in general, but also vandalism that is designed to hurt people’s feelings.”
Douglas also noted that the school is working to reduce bias-based vandalism in order to make more students feel connected to the university and the surrounding community.
“We want to make sure we’re addressing those kinds of issue, so the students on campus feel safe, and that this is an inclusive campus for everyone,” he said.
Funding to repair the projects tends to come from tuition funding and other money. However, if a student is caught damaging university property, the charges for the repairs are then placed on the student committing the act. This way, tuition does not get directly raised because of these incidents.
Vandalism increasing on campus is typically an expected issue. Once the academic year begins, student activity and behavior increases, one behavior being vandalism.
Rowan’s email gave students a warning about the consequences that can result from committing acts of vandalism on campus and other private property.
Lt. Joseph Barnett of the Rowan Campus Police Department said that students who commit vandalism can be charged with criminal mischief. Students can face criminal charges, a board hearing or both.
Dylan Walker, a sophomore music industry major, and Jake Ebner, a sophomore biology major, roommates in Holly Pointe, both saw the aftermath of a bathroom door and sign ripped off the wall by the all-gender bathroom outside their room.
“I was like, whoa, why isn’t there a door and why is there no sign?” Walker said. “There was a sign ripped off in the stairwell too.”
After coming back from a weekend off-campus, Ebner seemed shocked to see the extent of the vandalism within the building.
“I went to use the bathroom and I wasn’t sure if it was a bathroom or a shower because the sign was gone,” Ebner said.
After seeing the vandalism take place, Walker thought Holly Pointe could make changes to the way the staff monitors the building to prevent similar acts from happening again.
“Instead of gluing signs, we should screw them into the wall,” he said. “Maybe if someone puts some sensors on things, if someone rips down a sign and it goes off, then you [would] know what’s going on.”