Vandalism spikes in Hiett -bkm ***I have to check on one more thing before printing***

Nicole Capozziello

Though vandalism has been relatively low this year in Hiett, over the past few of weeks in particular acts of vandalism have been on the rise. While there has only been nominal damage, several acts of vandalism were committed between Thanksgiving break and mid-January.
The first of such acts occurred over Thanksgiving break when, on the first floor, a chair was broken and a phone was ripped from the wall. At the end of finals week, an elevator sign was dismantled along with a telephone on the third floor.
Over winter break, Lawrence Security discovered that a pane of glass on the inner set of doors had been kicked in. Security initially boarded up the hole and then replaced the pane before students returned to campus. Unlike the other incidents, this act is not thought to have been committed by Lawrence students. No motivation for the act has been discovered and there were no other signs of damage in the building.
In the early hours of January 7, a few students were seen ripping down door decks and signs throughout Hiett. Most of the door decks on fourth and first floor were torn down as well as the door decks from one side of second and third floor. One person stepped forward with a description of the vandals but no one is currently suspected. Karen Patyk, Residence Hall Director of Hiett, believes that this act was not committed by Hiett residents but by other Lawrence students. On the weekend of January 12-15, 4 phones were wrecked in various ways.
At this point, approximately $500 of damage has been accrued, as opposed to the total of $6,000 of damage in Hiett last year. Last year, Hiett’s Hall Council coaxed residents with Visa gift cards to step forward with information on the damage, causing charges to drop from around $10,000 to $6,000. Still, all residents of Hiett had to pay $90 to cover the costs of damage. The fairness of this has been debated as much of the vandalism is thought to have been committed by visitors of Hiett residents.
Gayatri Naidu, a member of Hiett Hall Council and co-chair of Student Welfare Committee, cites the Hiett RLAs’ effort as the reason for so few acts of vandalism this year. “I think that hall programming has really helped to build a sense of positive community,” says Naidu. Most residents seem to be truly concerned and displeased about such acts of disrespect occurring in their home. Hiett Hall Council and staff aim to continue building this sense of unity and minimizing vandalism so that fines will not be necessary.
As the Facilities Representative for Hiett’s Hall Council, Andres Dabdoub has initiated a No Vandalism Campaign to deter future acts of vandalism and disrespect. In addition to Hiett Hall Council’s Dizzy Breakfast program on the weekends, Dabdoub is also putting up posters, listing the prices of the damaged items around the dorm. Dabdoub wants to remind residents that living in Hiett is a privilege that should not be taken for granted.
The Student Welfare Committee has also begun talking about the possibility of security cameras in Hiett if vandalism continues. Student Welfare Committee is currently unsure about students’ feelings on the installation of security cameras as well as whether or not the budget would allow for it. “It basically gets down to what’s best for the residents,” said Naidu.
Unfortunately, because of the currently low involvement in Student Welfare Committee, it is very difficult to get a feel for what the student body really wants. Naidu encourages students with feelings on this matter or any other campus issues to join the Student Welfare Committee which meets every Friday at 12:30 in Downer E.