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vandalism == wrong

This is sad.

To whoever destroyed our common room:

Thank you for upending bowls of pretzels, chips, salsa and popcorn and smearing cupcakes onto our televison. Thank you for pulling our refrigerator away from our wall and emptying 2 liter bottles of soda onto our floor. Thank you for completely and unapologetically ignoring the mulititude of Record articles and all-campus e-mails regarding respect towards others and towards our campus and continuing to behave like douchebags. We really appreciate having to take an hour to clean everything up – it makes for a super fun Saturday night. We’re sure your mothers are proud.

Love, the extremely angry and disgusted women of Gladden 2.

But how hard is it to investigate who did the deed? My understanding is that you need to swipe a card to get into Gladden, or have the door held for you by someone who did. We therefore have a listing of everyone coming in and/or their helpers. We also know (more or less?) when the vandalism took place.

So, publish the list of everyone who went into and out of Gladden with an hour or two of the event. (Or at least give the list to College Council or the Record.) Investigate these folks. Ask them if they held the door for anyone and, if so, who. See if they are likely miscreants. (If they were friends with the women in Gladden 2, they are unlikely vandals.) Check to see where else the possible suspects went that night. Interview others to check on drunkenness.

This may all seem to police-state for our more screemish readers, but a community that does not govern itself is not always a fun community to reside in. And don’t forget my plan.

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#1 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 2:40 am

David: totally agree with you. It’s high time to get serious about nailing these “douchebags” and do more than soft talk.

#2 Comment By frank uible On October 22, 2007 @ 4:04 am

Identifying the perpetrators is the first step toward understanding and consequently remedying the problem.

#3 Comment By PTC On October 22, 2007 @ 5:51 am

Why not call the Police and report this kind of thing for what it is, a crime? I know it sounds extreme, but it sounds like there are some college policies that are getting in the way of investigating who is doing this garbage? Bring the cops in, and you’ll get everyones attention real fast.

#4 Comment By ncram65 On October 22, 2007 @ 9:30 am

I totally agree. These aren’t master criminals, but just drunken louts. It wouldn’t be hard for the administration to figure out who is responsible. I think it is awful that the school doesn’t do more to protect the rights of the overwhelming majority of good kids at Williams.

#5 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On October 22, 2007 @ 9:34 am

If you did this in a business environment chances are you’d be fired on the spot. It shows a lack of respect and is unproductive, and no business is willing to be saddled with either one of those problems in this highly competitive world.

I think Williams should expel the miscreants and then admit an equal number of students from the wait list or transfer list the following semester. There are plenty of students who would leap at the chance to get a Williams education. Why keep around students who don’t appreciate what they have?

Once the college makes it clear that it has no tolerance for students squandering the opportunity, things would improve at both Williams and for the miscreants. Williams gets a better environment, and the miscreants would be able to practice their hobby at a university with lower tuition.

#6 Comment By Jeff Z. On October 22, 2007 @ 10:14 am

At a school as small as Williams, where everyone seems to know who everyone else is romantically involved with (using that expression loosely) on any given night, there must be many people who are protecting those responsible. Do Williams students currently sign an honor code? If so, does that include reporting other students who not only cheat, but also violate community standards in this fashion? If not, it should. Once folks stop protecting their friends and start stepping forward to pin the blame on responsible parties, this type of behavior should abate.

#7 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 10:15 am

I agree that it is past time for the college to crack down on this. Enough of the “community responsibility” in terms of paying for, and even cleaning up, the damage – it’s a nice theoretical concept that does not work in practice. I don’t understand why the students not doing the damage (1) have to put up with it, (2) have to clean it up and (3) on top of that have to pay for it.

#8 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 1:39 pm

First step: Card the dorms so access is only allowed to residents. This provides a much better chance of possibly starting to catch these imbeciles. Once they start being caught and severely disciplined ( EXPELLED!)…these disgusting problems should decrease.

#9 Comment By David ’06 On October 22, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

First step: Card the dorms so access is only allowed to residents. This provides a much better chance of possibly starting to catch these imbeciles. Once they start being caught and severely disciplined ( EXPELLED!)…these disgusting problems should decrease.

This was being discussed a couple years ago by the heads of security but it never went through. I know that a lot of the campus was up in arms and fervently against such measures, but I’m not so sure that the victims of poo-smearing would disagree with such tactics.

Of course, this would be of limited use in basically half of all college dorms. It’s perfectly plausible that the assholes who trashed that common room were members of Gladden themselves and would have been granted access even under such a system.

#10 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

Now that one of the EphBlog readers has added Williams poo as a topic of discussion on College Confidential, it’s only a matter of time before it’s sent to Fark …

#11 Comment By concerned father On October 22, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

Any news on the CC forum notes? Are the kids coming up with any solutions?

The honor code could be a path to take. I don’t know how it reads, but I can tell you I sure feel like the people who anonymously caused the damage in my kid’s common area and halls, leaving the families of the kids who live there (kids who were on a trip off campus) to pay for it, stole from my kid and from me. But I guess drunken louts could care less about honor codes.

It doesn’t seem that making us pay is doing anything towards solving the problem. In many ways it may be exacerbating it because the college is left with no financial pressure since someone else always has to pick up the tab. No one has the ugly end-of-budget-year announcement/choice to make (e.g., programs cut to cover the unexpected aggegrate $$$ of damages).

The college’s approach is not working, at least not from the perspective of a financially involved father of a student who is being charged with but isn’t responsible for the mayhem. I have no suggestions,but I think a new approach is imperative.

#12 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

concerned father: Have you contacted the powers-that-be at Williams?

#13 Comment By frank uible On October 22, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

In my boyhood neighborhood the Code of the Street (“thou shalt not rat to authority on one’s contemporaries”) far outweighs any Honor Code.

#14 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

Posted on WSO this evening (re a vomiting incident this past weekend in Morgan) —

“Here’s the official e-mail:

Dear Morgan Hall residents,

An incident in the 2nd floor bathroom of Morgan has necessitated a
bio-cleanup by the custodial staff, since no student claimed individual
responsibility and no other students stepped forward to clean the mess. In
response, the middle section 2nd floor residents of Morgan will share in the
clean-up costs of the bathroom, and the entire building will be placed on
restricted, residents-only card access for a period of two weeks (from 12noon on
Tuesday, October 23 until 12noon on Tuesday, November 6). Additionally, no
parties may be registered for Morgan Hall for a period of one month (October
23 – November 22).

If you know who is responsible for the mess, please contact the Office of
Campus Life or the Dean’s Office. You can also submit an anonymous tip at
Campus Safety’s Anonymous Tip webpage:

https://webapps.williams.edu/admin-forms/security/tipline.php

-Doug Schiazza, Director of Campus Life”

#15 Comment By Anonymous On October 22, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

As a parent off-campus, I have to say that restricting access may be an effective way to minimize destructive actions of outsiders. I’m also glad to see the anonymous tip line information — that may be an easier route for Ephs to provide the administration with “helpful” information.

#16 Comment By 09 On October 23, 2007 @ 1:39 am

Stop destructive actions of outsiders? Possibly. Restricting card access does not, however, prevent students that live in individual buildings from wandering around inside them and wreaking havoc. Morgan residents will still be able to vomit all over Morgan bathrooms if they wish to. Nor does restricted access really prevent the entry of “outsiders” into buildings — it would be very easy to have a resident swipe you in. At least, if students are made to use their own ID cards to gain access into every building, the College has a more accurate record of who is in what building when. While it’s encouraging to see the College taking action, the responsibility of keeping campus clean falls on the students’ shoulders. Unfortunately, this seems to be too much to ask of the student population, and we find ourselves in a situation where the innocent (residents of Gladden 2) are paying for the transgressions of the idiotic and disrespectful.

#17 Comment By 09 On October 23, 2007 @ 1:40 am

oops meant Morgan 2 — excuse me for confusing two reprehensible situations

#18 Comment By concerned father On October 23, 2007 @ 1:52 am

No, I haven’t contacted Williams yet. My child asked me not to, and I agreed to hold off until a damage bill comes. We have extremely good proof that the kids were away when their area was damaged. Their incident predated this new policy and they didn’t get a formal written warning/statement, but were just informally told by the college employees who were doing the repairs that they would be billed. My kid thinks it is best to keep low key and wait and see what happens, rather than charging into the current roiled up atmosphere when a bill hasn’t even come yet.

Since our first goal has to be to avoid paying a large damage bill, much as I’d like to crusade, I have to agree that waiting for the procees to unfold in its natural timing may be the best approach for us. A quiet chat with the Dean, bill and proof in hand, on the kids’ part may well do more to accomplish our goal (and to contribute to a fair and effective policy) than coming down into an already hyped up situation like a ton of bricks before we even get the bill would. And who knows? The threatened/promised bill may not even show up. Stranger things have happened.

Within the bounds of my promise to wait, I am still interested in contributing my perspective to the discussion.

I am thinking about the Morgan residents. Let’s assume that 1) none of them vomited in their bathroooms and 2) they really don’t know who did (note that these assumptions are consistent with the WSO postings so I’m not just making up an unlikely scenario). Locking down their dorm may protect them from having someone do that again and from incurring additional charges for someone else’s actions, so maybe they welcome it. I view it as adding insult to injury as it seems punitive and will restrict their (assume legitimate, non-vomiting) friends’ access and implicitly brands the residents as miscreants or non-cooperators when, under our assumptions, they did nothing and do not know who did. What recourse did they have? Since we are are assuming that they don’t know who did it, their only way of avoiding being charged and then having access restricted would be cleaning up a stranger’s vomit. To me, that’s a failed policy.

I must say that I have no solutions so maybe I should shut up. Still, part of me says that, if the Morgan residents had cleaned up that mess (as many students have undoubtedly cleaned up other messes made by others, although usually probably much less disgusting), it would have made them enablers and would have helped to hide what seems to be a growing problem, thereby contributing to it. That is NOT to say that it’s fine that the custodians would be stuck with the mess.

#19 Comment By Anonymous On October 23, 2007 @ 3:47 am

Will the responsible parties please come forward. i am tired of waiting and hearing from the audience.

#20 Comment By concerned father On October 23, 2007 @ 4:25 am

I had surgery on my toe yesterday and now I can’t sleep and have been sitting up thinking about this situation.

My child checked in with my wife yesterday and mentioned that there are rumors on campus of a chronic belegerantly drunk first-year boy who recently decked a security officer and may have assaulted a Williamstown officer. Surely, one kid isn’t causing all the problems single-handedly but here’s one who needs to be separated from the community and who also needs to be medically evaluated and perhaps ordered into substance abuse treatent.

#21 Comment By concerned father On October 23, 2007 @ 9:12 am

While waiting for me in the hospital yesterday, my wife had an interesting conversation with several other relatives of patients. One family had brought in a young girl they are adopting from an orphanage in a former Eastern Bloc country. They fell to talikng about her adjustment problems and the mother said, “Well, at least she’s finally stopped smearing sh*t all over the walls.” Another parent talked about how his son had done that briefly after lightning had caused a fire in their house years ago. Apparently, smearing fecal matter is a surprisingly common reaction to trauma among children up to early adolescence.

We tend to just think, “Oh, it’s some drunks” when we hear that someone is smearing feces on the walls at Williams. My wife is wondering whether the perpetrator or perpetrators might be someone who, in addition to substance abuse problems, also is haunted by some trauma. In other words, are the feces-smearing incidents a cry for help (that goes beyond a need for garden variety substance abuse treatment)? That would not excuse the incidents but it makes me hope even more fervently that the college quickly finds out who is doing it and requires that the perpetrator or perpetrators (assuming it is students) have a psychological evaluation and get help if it is needed. There may be someone in the Williams community who is hurting very badly.

I’m no psychologist but what I’m suggesting and wondering is whether the feces smearer(s) might be different from the run-of-the-mill drunken doesn’t-make-it-to-the-toilet-and-throws-up-all-over-the-room type (who probably also could use substance abuse counseling).

#22 Comment By Anonymous On October 23, 2007 @ 11:32 am

Interesting points, father. Whatever the cause, I hope the perpetrator/s is/are soon discovered so that their “problems” can be addressed.