The Glenn Terrell Mall is the most at-risk area for vandalism on campus, according to campus police, but there may be little officers can do to catch someone who vandalizes school property.
“Depending on where it is, we can talk to the custodial staff that works in the area, but it is really tough to catch whoever did it, unless it is done in an area that is under surveillance,” WSU Police Cpl. Matthew Kuhrt said.
Kuhrt said the Glenn Terrell Mall is common because that is where the most people can see tagger messages.
Last week, a profane message was tagged along the northeast side of the Holland and Terrell Libraries, but that was not the first building in the area to be vandalized.
“A couple years ago there was one person who like went and tagged every building on the mall, so there was like 20 taggings in two days,” Kuhrt said. “I would say that the mall is most at risk just because that is where most of the campus is, and that is where most people can see whatever message the person is trying to convey.”
Five different reports of vandalism have been reported since the beginning of the year, he said.
Kuhrt said there was an incident of vandalism a couple of weeks ago where someone broke two windows and a door. While five reported incidents may not seem like a lot, Kuhrt said this is about average for the amount of time school has been in session.
He said situations involving graffiti are usually reported by a member of the WSU Facility Operations custodial staff.
“We document it and take pictures, but in the end, they are the ones that end up cleaning it up,” Kuhrt said.
Director of Construction Services Mike Sturko said once Facility Operations gets word of the incident and is cleared by the campus police, they remove the graffiti.
“It’s usually a paint job, but it usually depends on the extent of the damage on what it will cost,” Sturko said. “We do prepare an estimate of what it will cost just in case they do catch whoever did it so that we can bill them.”
Sturko said Facility Operations usually has a budget to take care of situations like these.
“In general, being a public institution, we have planned for situations like these in advance,” Sturko said. “We have set up a plan, including setting some funds at the beginning, so when it does happen, we just go ahead and fix it because we have already set aside those funds to take care of the situation.”
Sturko said Facility Operations treat acts of vandalism like any other event that may arise.
“Just like we would any other event, like pipes breaking and storms, we basically plan for something to happen. We don’t want it to happen, but we always have a plan,” Sturko said.
Kuhrt said with only five incidents reported this year there has not been a large amount of damage. Kuhrt said to his knowledge none have been gang related.
Senior communication major Anna Christie said acts of vandalism and graffiti bring down the value of our campus.
“I have only seen a couple taggings or vandalism, here on campus this year, but it just makes those areas look bad compared to other buildings on campus,” Christie said. “To me, it just shows that whoever put the graffiti on the building doesn’t care about the campus and the university they attend, if they even go here.”