On Monday, Nov. 6, the undergraduate student body at the University of Dallas received an email that the ‘80s TGIT scheduled for the coming Thursday was cancelled.
“We will be cancelling 80’s TGIT this week to help pay for the damages done to the Men’s restroom in lower Haggar Center and to allow campus the time needed to revisit our values as a university,” Catherine Duplant, director of Student Activities and Recreational Services, said in the email.
According to Duplant, facilities contacted her a couple weeks ago to inform her that people were tearing paper towel dispensers off the walls in the men’s restroom during TGIT.
Student Activities’ immediate response was to create the signs put on the bathroom asking students to be respectful of the facilities staff.
The signs were intended to act as a reminder for the students of the implications of their actions.
“Maybe people don’t realize what they’re doing,” Duplant said. “More often than not I feel like people aren’t actively malicious, they just do things and they think it’s funny.”
That week both a male student worker and a CSO officer checked the bathroom at regular intervals.
It was the first week that the vandalism did not take place this semester. However, the destruction resumed at last week’s “Slumber Party” TGIT.
This last vandalism occurred within a 10 to 12 minute frame between when a student worker and a CSO officer went to check the restroom.
Duplant says that they have an idea of who committed the vandalism but are not yet certain.
This week’s TGIT cancellation was meant to act not as a punishment to the student body, but as a way to cover the cost of continuous repairs to the wall, which is starting to cause permanent damage.
Duplant felt that since the vandalisms were clearly connected to TGIT, the repairs should come out of the TGIT budget.
“The numbers we budgeted for this week’s TGIT is $720 dollars which includes staffing, security, and catering,” Duplant said in an email. “The damages resulted in costs around $200 dollars. The cost of the damages will be transferred to Facilities Custodial Services and the remaining budgeted dollars will go towards future TGITs likely resulting in an increase or expanded catering order.”
While this cancellation is not intended as a punishment, Duplant stands by her call in the email for the university to revisit their values.
“We’re such a small tight knit community why are we letting that happen?” Duplant said. “Why did nobody say anything about the boy’s bathroom being destroyed 10 out of 11 weeks. Somebody must have seen that and they just let it go.”
Duplant immediately received responses to her email from students with ideas for solutions to keep this vandalism from happening again.
Many of these responses were reflected on social media, where people reacted to the news on student-run pages.
The most common suggestions were to keep the bathroom locked during TGIT or to post a CSO Officer outside of the restroom.
However the bathrooms in the basement of Haggar do not have locks, though installing locks may be something programming looks into.
Meanwhile, there are also concerns about placing a CSO officer outside of the restroom.
“To have them located there and not near the bar or people does not allow them to act quickly,” Duplant said.
Some students interpreted the cancellation as a form of punishment.
“I am frustrated by the fact that it needs to happen, because people should be mature enough to understand that we are in college and vandalism is very much below us,” sophomore and regular TGIT attendee Garrett Meske said. “I understand the need for consequences, but it is a frustrating situation.”
Meanwhile junior Student Government representative Muhammad Arif was disappointed in the cancellation.
“I do care about it, I think it [‘80s theme] was one of the more popular TGITs so it sends a strong message to all the vandalism that’s happening,” Arif said. “I hope people reflect upon it and learn from it.”
Others see it as the wake up call that Duplant intended it to be.
“I don’t know that I would even consider it a punishment, more a reminder of the fact that we need to be responsible for our own actions,” freshman senator John Bartee said.
“You have to shock the students, and you have to do it quickly,” freshman Peter Burleigh said. “You can’t necessarily say that it’s everyone’s fault, but you can respond to that fast … When you say everyone’s responsible, it’s like, ‘Oh shoot! I gotta do this now!’ “
Sara Coello, Colin Lancaster and Christine Newman contributed to the reporting of this article.