Acts of vandalism at GW’s newest residence hall continued last week despite increased University Police patrols, 40 hours of investigation and an increased Community Living and Learning staff presence.
Destruction at the Ivory Tower first occurred on Aug. 29 when an air conditioning unit, elevator and bulletin boards were damaged. Since then, three similar though less severe incidents have occurred. On Sept. 17, a fire exit sign was removed from a ceiling.
In trying to identify the vandals, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said her staff conducted a thorough investigation, canvassing the building and reviewing surveillance video. But the department has been unable to identify the perpetrators.
“We have not been able to identify suspects at this time,” Stafford said. “We have not closed the case at this point. There are several other individuals in the building we intend to interview.”
UPD officers now patrol Ivory Tower seven times during their eight-hour shifts. In Thurston and the Hall on Virginia Avenue, UPD tours the halls three times every eight hours.
Stafford also said an officer will be stationed at the building’s front desk Thursday through Saturday evenings. In addition, UPD is considering adding a 24-hour police presence to Ivory Tower.
Two community facilitators are assigned to Ivory Tower and have been told to tour the building periodically, said Penney Davis, the CLLC community director for the dorm. Davis also said community assistants, who are former CFs living in Ivory Tower, have been hired to work five hours per week.
Ivory Tower residents said that while they are upset with the damage to their new home, they are nervous about the increased UPD presence.
“It is awful to have something this new and that everyone cannot enjoy,” junior Golriz Amid said. “It sucks to have UPD around all the time.”
Residents of Ivory Tower said increased police and CLLC presence destroys some of the freedom of being upperclassmen, but CLLC officials disagreed.
“(Students) are annoyed that this (vandalism) has happened,”Davis said. “They have expressed gratitude to the UPD officer at the front desk for their help.”
CLLC officials said they could, not estimate the cost of damage to the building because of the many companies and departments involved in repairs.
Stafford said she suspects that all of the incidents at Ivory Tower are unrelated. She also said it will never be fully within UPD’s capability to prevent vandalism and that students will have to stop protecting those who are committing the crimes.
Davis said CLLC is trying to facilitate a community spirit through e-mail lists and socialization that will hopefully discourage future vandalism.