Confronting Sage vandalism

Bob Trettin

A few weeks ago, there were two incidents of destruction on the same night in Sage Hall. A chair was smashed to pieces and left in the hall, and a hole was kicked into a wall on the 4th floor. These incidents were addressed in a floor meeting with our RLAs, and we were asked to confront any future acts of vandalism and be responsible for ensuring a healthy community.

The culprits were not identified, and residents were not charged for this particular episode. However, we were told that if the damages continued, everyone would be held accountable, and we would all have to pay for the repairs.

Over the recent reading period, I, along with my fellow Sage residents, received an unfortunate e-mail from our Residence Hall Director regarding further acts of vandalism within Sage. This time, the printer in Sage Hall’s computer lab was damaged beyond repair, and a racist comment was etched into the Sage Pressing Room door.

For these offenses, the Resident Hall Staff has decided to seriously consider charging Sage residents. In fact, we will possibly be charged not only for these recent malfeasances, but also for the broken chair and the hole in the wall.

This news has people upset for the obvious reason that they feel it is unfair that they must pay for the stupidity and carelessness of others. But who should we really be angry at? Certainly not those in charge of the situation, such as our RHD.

I personally have a certain amount of contempt for whoever who took the time to carve an outrageous, racist comment onto Lawrence property, or for whoever who ruined Sage’s printer and would not own up to it.

In an ideal community, the offenders would have confessed to their crimes and saved their fellow residents from having to pay for their own mistakes. Of course, that being said, in an ideal community, these incidents would not have happened at all.

If I were Sherlock Holmes, I would be on top of the case of the Pressing Room Door and the Printer Pummeler. However, I do not believe it takes a deductive logical genius to solve this mystery.

All of these acts of vandalism could have been prevented. First, by self-control and common sense on behalf of the individuals who made the conscious—perhaps impaired—decision to damage Lawrence University property, and secondly, by witnesses of the incidents.

Confronting vandalism may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do. Even a simple off-the-cuff remark can make all the difference. Guilt by omission is still guilt. Failing to act when vandalism is taking place is wrongful in itself. Taking control of the situation and having the prudence to act is admirable.

Some might call me an idealist because of this article, but I do not think that self-control, sound judgment and responsibility are too much to ask of Lawrentians. I am challenging myself and others to take preventative action against the nonsensical acts of vandalism for the duration of this year.