The University Police Department recently released its annual report detailing crime statistics on campus. The report detailed a significant rise in alcohol violations and a general decline in most other offenses. Acts of vandalism, however, saw a sharp upturn. And while the document addresses statistics from 2003, there is no doubt vandalism has become a serious campus issue this year.
Repeated acts of vandalism in the new Ivory Tower residence hall this year have affected the quality of life for students living there. Responding to the destruction of University property, the UPD responded by placing an officer at the door and increased patrols of the hallways. This increased UPD presence can lead to an increase in alcohol violations and a general sentiment that upperclassmen still need careful oversight. It is in students’ best interest to avoid this perception and thus take more responsibility for reporting those who vandalize University property.
Vandalism is not only a problem facing those living in affected residence halls, but for the student body at large. Property destruction creates a negative perception of students in the administration. Such perceptions allow the administration to justify placing further restrictions on the ability of upperclassmen to live their own lives. Further, vandalism implants a negative perception of students in the mind of area residents. So long as Foggy Bottom residents feel students cannot control themselves, they will continue to crusade against the University and student initiatives like extending the hours of the Health and Wellness Center.
To avoid these negative consequences, students should take responsibility for stopping vandalism in their residence halls. Individuals should promote responsibility among their friends, especially while drinking. Furthermore, UPD should better publicize their tip line, allowing students who feel there is no other recourse than to report vandalism to do so.
If students do not take personal responsibility to stop vandalism, the University might implement far more intrusive policies. In many universities around the country, students on particular residence hall floors foot the bill collectively for vandalism damage. By taking personal initiative and responsibility, students can ensure this does not happen and afford upperclassmen the living freedom they deserve.