June 19, 2019

Acts of vandalism in West Hall

After a recent incident of vandalism in the Webster Village Apartments (the WVA) and West Hall, John Buck, director of housing and residential life, is now offering a $50 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to finding those responsible.

On Friday, Aug. 19 between 12:30-1:30 a.m., welcoming banners were torn down from the outside of two WVA buildings, No. 3 and No. 6. At approximately the same time, welcoming decorations on the third floor of West Hall were torn down, and white boards throughout the floor were vandalized with male genitalia and slurs regarding homosexuality.

The incident occurred on the first night incoming students spent in their new residences. Buck said his primary concern was the well-being of students, not the monetary value of what was taken.

“It can leave some with a threatening feeling,” Buck said. “We’ve got some bonehead vandal thinking they’re cool and funny, but it can have a chilling effect.”

A witness reported seeing someone take a banner off WVA building No. 6 around 1:30 a.m. At approximately 1:40 a.m., the residential assistant (RA) from that building was alerted.

Around the same time, cameras in West Hall captured three individuals unsuccessfully attempting to enter the main door of the building. It is assumed they entered the building through a side door.

As of Aug. 29, both banners were found in a dumpster adjacent to WVA building No. 4. Buck said a handful of students have come forward with information regarding the incident, and the description of the vandals those students gave match the people seen in the video.

“(The people in the video) are definitely persons of interest,” Buck said. “They may not be the perpetrators, but we do want to talk to them and see what they know.”

During the Resident Life Orientation event, from approximately 10-11 a.m. that same day, Buck addressed the incident with students and parents. He encouraged students to report any threatening activity on campus.

“We just have no tolerance for (vandalism),” Buck said. “We’ll be aggressive in finding out who did this.”

Buck said vandalism typically occurs on campus 1-2 times a year, and sometimes three times a year. He said this particular incident was more urgent because it was the first night of move-in.

‘It has a very violating effect on people who were trying to feel welcome in a new environment,” Buck said.

Any students with information about the vandalism should contact Buck at 314-246-4663.

“If we find them, one of the things I’d like to ask them is, ‘did you keep the boxes you used to move in with? Because maybe you should use them to get out.’” Buck said. “I’m of the belief that the people who did this shouldn’t have the privilege of living on campus.”

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