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Residence hall vandalism ramps up in AMS and Johnson

Several residence halls were subject to severe vandalism in early November. In the Anthony, Mitchell, and Schupf (AMS) basement, the dorm’s plumbing infrastructure and several other dorm fixtures were damaged.

Jessie Reed `24, an AMS Community Advisor (CA), told The Colby Echo that some common room couches and other furniture were broken. Holes were also punched in the wall, bulletin boards and their contents were vandalized, and broken glass was found in an AMS stairwell.

“Someone ripped a sink out in the basement bathroom,” Ben Southwick `23, a Mitchell resident, said. “They smashed one of the exit signs, they smashed in the glass on the vending machine, and there [were] pumpkin guts all over the front entryway.”

Southwick explained that he does not have a problem with students throwing parties on the weekends.

“I don’t care about people partying or whatever,” he said. “I do care when people are destroying the plumbing so I can’t take a shower.”

Some students ripped the sink in the basement bathroom out of the wall, he explained. This caused plumbing issues in much of AMS.

“The water was out for the rest of the night,” he said. “People couldn’t use water until 1 p.m., and by then it was coming out brown.”

Brian Riley `22 also lives in AMS but had more luck with the plumbing in his area of the building.

“One of my showers was shooting out not-clear water for a while,” he said. “But the other one worked fine. I heard other people had less luck.”

Riley thinks the amount of partying in the dorms has increased since last year due to the decreased severity of the COVID-19 pandemic at the College. Southwick, who lived in AMS last year, noticed that it is louder and people are throwing more parties than they did during last semester.

Reed said that she and the other AMS CAs have addressed the vandalism in person during their Community Times, and also over email.

“To my knowledge, no one has been caught,” she told The Colby Echo. “There are only consequences of vandalism if we [the CAs] know the people who committed the vandalism or if someone anonymously reports them, as it violates school policy.”

Taylor Hall also suffered serious dorm vandalism around the same time. On the ground floor, the water fountain was partially ripped from the wall and was leaking water. Some common room furniture was also destroyed.

Calvin Whitley `23, a resident of Taylor, told The Colby Echo that he often hears parties happening in the Taylor common room.

“[I] genuinely can’t use the common room,” he said. “There’s been weeks where the dorm floor smells awful. For the water fountain, I just got water from Miller [after it was destroyed].”

The damage in Taylor has since been repaired, but it is not clear if any students have been found responsible for the vandalism, or if the College is taking extra measures to prevent future dorm damage. Since the vandalism incidents in Taylor and AMS, five more counts of vandalism have been reported to Colby Security. Director of Colby Security, Bob Williams, did not respond to a request for comment.

Until the 2020-2021 academic year, students could view an itemized list of dorm damage in every residence hall on the myColby portal. However, this list has not been updated since the spring 2020 semester. In past years, very few students claimed the damages for vandalism, and the cost of repairs was split amongst the residents, most of whom likely were not involved in vandalism.

Now, the cost is absorbed by the College, after a push to end a system that many felt unfairly affected low-income students, who struggled disproportionally to pay added fees from unclaimed damage.

~ Milo Lani-Caputo `23

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