By Claire Hof
I don’t understand what is entertaining or funny about vandalism. I often ask myself that question after reading security reports about vandalism on campus. C-Haus’ door is spray-painted. A jar of pickles poured across a couch. Overstuffed furniture slashed. Writing on walls and stalls in permanent marker. Tires on a car slashed. Pee in the elevator. Door decorations ripped down. Advertisements on the walls of a hallway burned. Fire extinguishers tampered with. Toilets intentionally clogged and overflowed.
Why is that fun? How is that entertaining? I don’t understand. College is a time to take ownership of one’s surroundings. Why, on a campus where a variety of issues are passionately and respectfully pursued, do I see such disrespect toward our immediate surroundings? I witness students rallying against the repair bill, raising funds for the Heifer Project, taking a stand against sexual assault, coordinating a pen-pal system with those incarcerated, and raising awareness about AIDS in Africa. But then I witness lounges disrespected, posters written on or ripped down, buildings adorned with graffiti, and community areas used as restrooms.
This campus cares deeply about raising awareness on social justice issues, raising a voice for those who don’t have one, and raising the amount of respect shown toward individual decisions. I fear, though, that we have also raised the level of tolerance toward incivilities on our own campus. Every time someone commits an act of vandalism, a community is affected. This can be the residents who have lounges abused, professors who have their buildings spray painted, or clubs who have posters torn down. Then there is the community that performs the clean-up after the fact. Housekeeping and Physical Plant work hard every day to help maintain a positive living and learning community on campus. When individuals commit acts of vandalism, they are not considering who has to clean up the mess. Our housekeepers and Physical Plant workers should be a group of people to whom we raise our glasses, not a group for which we raise the amount of work they have to complete.
With the exception of Aldrich residents, Aldrich Hall is not accessible to the campus community right now. Some students expect the benefits of adulthood but do not consider repercussions of actions. Unfortunately, those few students’ actions are affecting the entire campus community.
Claire Hof is a Beloit College Hall Director who works in Res Life and lives in Aldrich Hall