UNC’s campus has experienced an upswing in vandalism over the past few months.
According to the UNC Department of Safety crime log, there were 14 accounts of vandalism in January alone, including three graffiti incidents at Davis Library and others at Dey Hall, Wilson Library and various sidewalks around campus.
Director of Library Communications Judy Panitch said the recent vandalism makes for an aesthetically displeasing environment.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “We know that the vast majority of people on this campus really love this campus, and so when you see things like vandalism, it doesn’t reflect what people feel about Carolina.”
One of the most recent incidents occurred at Alumni Hall on Wednesday around 4 a.m. when several windows were broken as well as a microscope valued at several thousand dollars. Employees said there appeared to be an attempt to damage a second story window with a fire extinguisher that was found on site.
Randy Young, spokesman for Department of Public Safety, said in an email that the department is currently treating the damage to Alumni Hall as a solitary incident.
“While we won’t speak in specifics about an ongoing investigation, I can say that we’re treating the incidents as isolated and unrelated, though we’re not ruling out a connection or singular suspect in some of the cases,” Young said.
“The problem is not uncommon, and there was even a rash of such incidents over last year totaling nearly $50,000 in damage, but we were able to make an arrest in that investigation.”
Anthropology professor Vincas Steponaitis, whose office is in Alumni Hall, said the act was upsetting given ongoing budget concerns.
“Here we are in the heart of campus, the prettiest part of campus, right next to the Visitors’ Center, and you know you’ve got this ugly, nasty thing that somebody’s done just to deface a historic building,” said Steponaitis.
“It’s just senseless vandalism, and we just don’t have the budget now to just replace stuff like this.”
In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, Young said campus is patrolled regularly and more than 500 surveillance cameras are in place.
But Young said that UNC’s strongest security asset is the community itself.
“We are under 100 officers, but we’re a campus that’s over 40,000 people strong,” he said. “We would ask that the campus partner with us, and if you see something, say something.”
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