“Every Saturday, after I wake up and walk through the lobby toward the bathroom, I find something. Whether it is an overturned couch, a study area littered with trash, or even an exit sign ripped out of the ceiling left hanging from its wires; there is always something there.” That’s how one student explained living in a West Chester University dormitory. WCU students and personnel are seeing vandalism happen in the dormitories and have not discovered the culprits or stopped the vandals. Incidents are continuing to pile up. The Office of Residence Life’s goal is to stop the damage and provide a safe environment for students.
“Our preference would be to identify people responsible and deal with them directly through judicial processes and/or restitution,” said Peter Galloway, director of Housing Services.
Signs are being posted urging anyone who has any information to report the offenders to the appropriate authorities including Public Safety, resident assistants and Residence Life.
Residents gather at mandatory floor meetings in affected areas asking for information; however, little response is being reciprocated from students.
“Residents can help [fix the problem] by sharing information they know about incidents,” Galloway said. “Either they have seen directly or even what they hear through the grape vine.”
In Goshen Hall, bathrooms have had shower curtains ripped down and removed. Trash has been thrown in bathrooms and lobbies, toilet paper has been taken from bathrooms and cast outside at individuals.
In addition, elevators have had graphic images burned into the ceiling on more than one occasion.
Goshen Hall is not alone in these acts however. Ramsey and Sanderson Halls have reported similar acts of vandalism sparking action from Residence Life.
“There has always been vandalism,” said senior Suzanne Favola. “It’s never been this bad or this frequent though.”
Residence Life is stressing the cost of these acts. Each time a incident of vandalism occurs, the defect has to be repaired immediately. The rate of a laborer can cost over $20 per hour which is taken from available money for recreation. In addition to defacement, if property is stolen from a building, the items must be replaced, placing a further dent in the building’s funds.
“There is a pool of money available,” Galloway said. “Any money not spent on vandalism is then available for [recreational use].”
One of the worst incidents to occur in Goshen Hall was the spreading of fecal matter throughout a men’s bathroom, particularly on mirrors in a bathroom.
Junior Ryan Forney, who has lived in the dorms for seven semesters, said the incidents were the worst he has seen at his time at WCU. Forney plans on living off-campus next semester.
If information is not revealed about incidents, according to Galloway, Residence Life could enact restrictions or reparations on specific floors or wings that experience frequent or severe incidents including loss of lobby privileges and group damage billing.