Vandalism continues at Ridgecrest

Vandalism+continues+at+Ridgecrest

This destroyed exit sign on the third floor of Ridgecrest South’s North Tower is a shocking example of the major issue of vandalism in student dorms. /CW|Katherine Overton

William Evans

Vandals have continued to damage the second floor of Ridgecrest South residence hall, South Tower, since last semester, residents said.

“They put paint on the wall, soap on the wall, stuff on the rug, they hit out 80 percent of the ceiling tiles and pull out the metal frames that keep them up,” said Meaghan Stuski, a freshman majoring in advertising who lives on the second floor of Ridgecrest, South Tower.

The search for the culprit(s) is ongoing as Housing and Residential Communities implores students to stop the vandalism by reporting any activity to HRC or the University of Alabama Police Department, Alicia Browne, associate director of information and communication for HRC, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We are encouraging students to stand up and tell us if they know anything,” she said.

HRC institutes in its contracts with students a clause for what Browne called ‘group billing,’ which distributes the cost of the damages to the surrounding residents if the perpetrator(s) responsible is left undiscovered.

“Damages not attributable to an individual are covered by all students, as stipulated in the housing contract, just like damage done to any public setting in a city or town,” she said.

Otherwise, the person(s) responsible for the damage will bear the brunt of the expenses.

“We expect full restitution from any student found causing damage in a residence hall and the opportunity to live in campus housing may be revoked,” she said.

Browne said in addition to walking an extra set of rounds each night, resident advisers have been asked to talk to their residents about the vandalism either in floor meetings or one-on-one.

“In our floor meetings, they tell us don’t do stupid stuff because everyone will have to pay,” said Andrea Easley, a freshman majoring in public relations.

Easley said she has not seen the vandalism in progress but has heard residents brag about its undertaking.

“You know a lot of times if they’re intoxicated—all of them,” she said.

Taylor Robinson, a freshman majoring in interior design, said before the close of last semester, a sheet was clipped to a bulletin board asking residents what New Year’s resolutions they planned to commit to. She said one entry read, “Not having $10,000 worth of damage.”

Slight damages have spread to the second floor of the North Tower, but none to the extent of the South Tower, residents said.

“The bulletin board was torn down,” Neely Smith, a freshman majoring in civil engineering who lives in the North Tower of the second floor, said about the degree of damage to her hall.

Browne said HRC hopes to instill a sense of common decency in residents by developing programs focusing on the topics of “Civility and Community Responsibility.”

She said students are the best impediment to further acts of vandalism.

“Students are our best allies at patrolling and holding each other accountable for poor behavior,” she said. “Ultimately, students determine to a great extent the nature of life in their community, and we want our residents to make clear that this behavior is not acceptable, and they will not be a party to it and will report what they know about vandalism to the staff.”