Vandalism may result in billing

From graffiti on the walls and broken sinks in the bathroom, to the fire alarms that go off at 3 a.m., Residence Life has dealt with it all. And according to Nick Hennessy, the associate director of the Office of Residence Life, drug and alcohol use are often linked to vandalism on campus.

Former residential advisor, Tim Carroll, agrees.

In his first year as an RA, Carroll had one of the most difficult floors in Kreischer-Compton.

When it came to dealing with drugs and vandalism, Carroll and his fellow RA’s contacted the BGSU campus police.

“Calling the police was our way of handling the problem,” Carroll said.

Those situations would have been difficult Carroll said, if it weren’t for Residence Life’s relationship with campus police.

“One time I was taking care of an issue with the hall director, where someone threw up all the way from the fourth floor to the first, and came across a party. There were bottles clanking and the students refused to open the door,” he recalled.

Then he called the police.

“Essentially once the police are there, I just stand and watch. It’s out of my hands,” he said.

However Hennessy said, “safety for resident students is based on students assisting us with our policies.”

Despite police and Residence Life working together, not every rule is easily enforced.

For example, Hennessy mentioned that a PED system has been set up so that only residents can enter the halls.

But nothing can stop someone from allowing non-residents from entering the building, he said.

Until cameras were installed in Mac, fire alarms were set off on a constant basis without apprehension of those responsible.

Not that cameras are the only way students are caught.

“People talk,” Weigand said.

They like to brag and rumors begin to circulate. Sometimes the rumors get to other residents, who are sick of going outside at 3 a.m., he added. But what happens if crimes aren’t solved?

Hennessy said that while the Office of Residence Life tries to avoid charging a whole group of students, sometimes it can’t be helped. If damage is great enough and it can’t be pinpointed, the residents will be charged.

“We do our best to avoid community billing,” Hennessy said.

If there is no information about the perpetrators, the damage is substantial, and in places like hallways or bathrooms where the clean up would be extensive, they have to bill the residents.

Theft is another problem.

According to Weigand, laptops, wallets and purses can disappear in a matter of moments.

“In most cases someone is able to get access through an unlocked door,” he said. “In all likelihood they were crimes of opportunity.”

For example, he said, a person will take a trip to the restroom and not think to lock their door.

And while the police will investigate these crimes, there is no guarantee they can solve it.

But Weigand did point out that crime on campus has gone down.

In 2004 there were 7 reported thefts down from the 13 in 2002. Arrests did go up for liquor and violations from 23 in 2002 to 75 in 2004, as well as arrests for drug abuse going from 21 arrests to 32.

Carroll said the best way to continue this trend would be to install more security cameras.

“It is a small investment that really pays off in the long run. It helps catch theft, and identify parties involved in a fight,” he said