GILLIAN REINHARD ’20
This year’s Homecoming Weekend saw the emergence of several incidents, particularly vandalism, on Vernon Street. With massive crowds at Jessee/Miller Field, and other venues such as the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) and Psi Upsilon fraternities, these instances of crime were immediately addressed by Campus Safety.
At 1:20 pm, as the Homecoming football game during Wesleyan University occurred, an unidentified individual committed what was reported as disorderly conduct on Sheppard Field, immediately behind the La Voz Latina (LVL) house on 69 Vernon Street. The individual was reported to have urinated on the field and was caught on video surveillance approaching and leaving the field, however, the images captured cannot make out a clear face of the perpetrator.
Because the case remains open, it is difficult to deduce a motive for the act of disorderly conduct. LVL’s proximity to the football field, where many spectators held tailgates and parties, makes it a clear target for disorderly conduct. However, this semester has seen recent acts of crime targeted toward specific groups at Trinity.
The month of October, as reported by Campus Safety, saw several acts of vandalism that directly targeted minority communities on campus. The Queer Resource Center experienced incidents of hate crime as well, including multiple acts of tearing down the Center’s LGBTQ flag. Similarly, an unknown individual attempted to tear down a Dominican flag hanging from the first-year dormitory Smith Hall.
Homecoming Weekend also saw vandalism in the residence halls Doonesbury and Hansen. During the early evening, the men’s bathroom in the basement of Hansen was destroyed by breaking its mirrors, making the room unsafe for students to enter. The perpetrators remain unknown. However, every residence hall on campus was made access-only for students living in the dorms, meaning that only Hansen residents should have been able to enter. The case of vandalism in the dorms remains open.
The basement of Hansen Hall has experienced problems throughout the semester, most recently when it flooded on the week of Oct. 24. Hansen’s location, on a slight incline in relation to the bistro, puts it at risk of flooding. Although certain sections of the basement did flood, the Office of Residential Life only reported one room to have significantly flooded, and was immediately addressed and cleaned by the Facilities Department. Issues of flooding were clarified by Director of Residential Life Susan Salisbury, who explained that flooding in on-campus buildings is typically caused by pipes that burst when windows are left open in residence halls with freezing temperatures. However, the recent flooding in Hansen was unique in that it was caused by extreme torrential downpours, which affected rooms on both the basement and first floors. The two bottom floors of Hansen have remained without a Residential Assistant (RA) since September.
Salisbury explained that residence halls which prop their bathroom doors open are often at risk for vandalism. She cited a notable case of this which occurred in the first-year dormitory Jones Hall, where over Trinity Days, a student stuffed a sink with paper towels and intentionally flooded the bathroom as well as the room of a student who lived downstairs. The idea of making all dorms at Trinity access-only to residents (instead of allowing all students access), as is the case in North Campus, could potentially be addressed in light of the recent vandalisms. The concept of making all dorms accessible only by residents was revisited as recent as last year, when the Student Government Association (SGA) met with former Dean of Students Christopher Card. Susan Salisbury explained that the recent acts of vandalism are “a question of security,” advising students to “be aware of who you are letting into the dorms and bathrooms.”
Residential Life and Campus Safety reiterated similar points concerning safety and vandalism in the wake of Homecoming weekend. “Security is an issue on everybody’s mind. Our concern is the safety of our students,” said Salisbury. Similar statements were echoed from Campus Safety.
In addition to the instances of vandalism, one non-Trinity student was transported from Vernon Street after the conclusion of the Homecoming game. However, given the mass crowds, composed of students, alumni, and parents alike, the weekend was fairly orderly and did not experience any problems of major concern.