Campus community approves of vandalism policy in wake of incidents

Geneseo has grappled with multiple vandalism cases that became prominent during the 2016-17 academic year, following the election of President Donald Trump. Overall, students feel that the college’s current policy is effective.

The majority of these incidents have taken the form of graffiti and defacement. 

Unknown individuals vandalized multiple areas on-campus with hate symbols, including a swastika with the word “Trump!” written underneath in a common area Nassau Hall and “KKK” written on the college’s gazebo. 

Additionally, others vandalized the Greek Tree after it was painted by the College Republicans to show its support of former presidential candidate and Governor of Ohio John Kasich. The vandals painted the tree black in order to cover what was painted by College Republicans. 

Furthermore, multiple instances of vandalism that were considered biased related incidents also occurred in residence halls in September of 2017, particularly on bulletin boards and whiteboards. 

The college’s definition of vandalism can be broad and generally ranges from an individual writing on someone’s whiteboard against the owner’s wishes to the damage of college property, according to Coordinator of Student Conduct & Community Standards Heather York. On a three-year basis, Chief of University Police Thomas Kilcullen estimates that there are an average of 60 vandalism cases per year. 

The way that the college approaches vandalism suspects depends on whether the suspected vandal is a student or not, according to York. 

“The investigation is handled through University Police,” York said. “If UPD believes the suspect is a student, then that process would continue to go through the student conduct process in the legal system.” 

Within the college’s conduct process, there is no set standard of punishment for students who have vandalized property, according to York. For more severe cases, a student could be expelled; for minor cases, a student may receive a verbal warning. 

Some students agree with the current procedure for handling these cases. Psychology major sophomore Jennifer Kloosterman felt that Geneseo has maintained a solid policy in preventing and responding to vandalism. 

“I’ve heard that Geneseo is really good with making sure [vandalism] doesn’t happen,” Kloosterman said. 

Pre-economics major sophomore Ousmane Sam similarly believes that vandalism is not a prevalent issue on-campus. 

“One hundred percent safe on-campus, I feel,” Sam said. “When I walk around, I take a nice whiff of fresh air and I enjoy the area.”

While there have been numerous instances of vandalism on-campus over the course of the past few semesters, many students have signified such situations have had little to no effect on them, and most maintain positive views of the campus despite these cases.

 College Republicans painted the Greek Tree before the 2016 presidential election (pictured left) and it was defaced soon after (pictured right). The college’s response has been applauded by some students. (Courtesy of Sarah Simon (Pictured left) and Noah Horan (Pictured right))

College Republicans painted the Greek Tree before the 2016 presidential election (pictured left) and it was defaced soon after (pictured right). The college’s response has been applauded by some students. (Courtesy of Sarah Simon (Pictured left) and Noah Horan (Pictured right))

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