Vandalism in Clark and Madonna Halls

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Photo by Hannah Green

In recent weeks, there have been varying reports of intentional destruction done to both Madonna and Clark Halls. 

According to a written statement from Captain Mandy Baker of the University of Dallas Police Department on Oct. 20, there was a report of a broken glass door and smashed public bathroom sink in Madonna Hall. 

These damages are being investigated as a criminal mischief offense, which is popularly called vandalism. The term “vandalism” does not exist in Texas Penal code, according to Chief Russell Greene of UDPD. The intentional destruction of property is instead referred to as “criminal mischief.” 

In a follow-up statement on Oct. 21, Greene wrote, “The Office Of Student Affairs is taking the lead on this investigation. I can confirm a glass panel on an exterior door and one bathroom sink were damaged. It’s early in the investigation to speculate what happened.” 

“OSA is seeking any information Madonna residents can provide,” said Greene.

In addition to the damages to Madonna Hall, there have also been reports of vandalism in Clark Hall.

In an email to all Clark residents sent Oct. 23, Seth Oldham, Director of Student Affairs, wrote:

“It has come to my attention that there has been some continual vandalism in Clark Hall. Specifically, RA decorations have been taken down, bulletin boards have been defaced, and signs on doors have been removed.”

“Our RAs work extremely hard, and deserve better than this behavior. But more than that, this behavior is unbecoming of UD students. If this vandalism continues, the Office of Student Affairs will step in through various community sanctions, including more mandatory hall meetings, limited visitation hours, and community fines.”

According to Austin Lux, a Clark Hall Residence Assistant, there are two main reasons for hall decorations, such as signs, posters or lights: to inform residents about events around campus and to make residence halls feel more comfortable and like a place to call home.

“Back in September, I hung up some signs informing students about the announcement regarding COVID policy. That same day, the signs had been taken down twice,” said Lux. 

“There have been several times throughout the year when signs I put up along the hall had been taken down. Today all but one of my decorations have been taken. This includes my bulletin board about mental health awareness for this month.”

Many Clark RAs spend countless hours working on the decorations for their halls, according to Lux. Despite their best efforts to make residence halls cheerier, the RAs have been seeing fun decorations ripped down, destroyed and stolen. 

When asked for further comments, Oldham said, “We have already had hall meetings with Clark Hall where we addressed the lack of respect for the community. The next step may be a community fine, but we want to provide Clark Hall residents the opportunity to show improvement and care for their community.”

“Our resident assistants are doing an amazing job this semester, and don’t deserve to have their hard work torn down off the walls. This type of behavior is unbecoming of the community of learners on which our beloved university prides itself.”

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