Vandalism spreads to library

Audrey Hull

Recently, a piece of artwork was stolen from the current Mudd Gallery exhibition, “Remaining Cloth” by Summer Zickefoose.
An e-mail from Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell warned that if the piece was not returned and the source of the theft discovered, police action would be taken against the offender.
As the piece has not yet been returned, it now classifies as grand theft according to the Appleton Police Department. Evidence found at the scene has been taken into custody and is currently being examined.
While this is not the first incident of stolen artwork from the Seeley G. Mudd Library, in the previous case the stolen item – a portrait of former Lawrence president Henry Wriston – was soon returned and found to be part of a prank.
This time, the consequences for both the culprit and the Lawrence community could be far more severe. The serious question of Lawrence’s reputation as an institution of higher learning has arisen. In addition, as the Truesdell e-mail stated, if caught the offender will be subject to criminal persecution.
Lawrence students wonder how safe their property is, while the LU Alumni Association Board of Directors, which had planned an art show event for the fall, is currently reconsidering this option in light of the recent events.
Moreover, assistant professor of art Joseph D’Uva stated that he “would not try to organize professional artist’s exhibitions at the Mudd Gallery any longer, which is a shame.” D’Uva lamented, “Part of our mission and our vision for the Mudd Gallery was to exhibit professional artists’ work that would be relevant to the information being taught in our courses.”
D’Uva conceded that other art professors might still try to bring in professional artists.
The incident, coupled with the recent sprees of vandalism in both Sage Hall and Hiett Hall, violates one of the Lawrence goals to respect property. Library director Peter Gilbert mused, “Perhaps this is an indication of not feeling connected enough to the community.”
Indeed, recent events such as the infamous shower peeper have resulted in the tightening of the “Lawrence Bubble.” Dorms which were previously locked only at night are now locked 24/7, at first creating an atmosphere of uncertainty among students.
Several students have mentioned their disappointment and growing lack of faith in the Honor Code as well, suggesting that fewer and fewer seem to appreciate and respect its place at Lawrence.
On the other hand, other students stated unequivocally that the shock of its violation stands as a testament to the importance of the Honor Code’s place at the university.
Noting the unfortunate increase in random vandalism throughout the campus, Dean Truesdell extended her hope that this most recent act would “not have a negative impact on the future generosity of artists and students” to the Lawrence community.
Generally, students who might produce an exhibit in the Mudd Gallery feel that this theft significantly reduces their willingness to display their work. Senior art major Shelby Peterson has observed the vandalism of sculpture around the campus over the past few years and concluded that she would not want to show her pieces.
Adding to this, D’Uva remarked that he would also think twice before exhibiting his own work again.
Students and faculty alike have expressed their disappointment and embarrassment at the lack of disrespect for art on campus. One student suggested that this latest theft is a joke; however, in light of the potential consequences facing Lawrence, it is hardly a laughing matter.