Damage costs in Murphy Hall hit new highs

March 22nd, 2012

Vandalism in Murphy Hall has been a continuous issue this school year, and the damages continue to add up. According to Director of Residence Life Lisa Brown, damages to the residence hall have totaled $12,021 from the beginning of the school year to March 12.

The Carroll News originally published a story about vandalism in residence halls, including Murphy, in its Dec. 8 issue. Brown said the problems in Murphy have continued since the story ran over three months ago.

“Since the initial story, there have been occurrences of minor incidents of vandalism on a weekly basis [such as] broken windows, soap and paper towel dispensers torn down, ceiling tiles damaged [and] shower curtains cut in half,” she said via email. “In addition to the minor incidents, there have been five major incidents of vandalism in Murphy Hall.”

Brown said the five major incidents in Murphy include:

• On Friday, Feb. 17, the third floor experienced two instances of vandalism. Fire extinguishers were set off, and a bathroom was intentionally flooded.

• A first floor bathroom experienced flooding because a toilet was broken off the wall, also on Feb. 17. In addition, a granite shower wall divider was broken.

• On Saturday, Feb. 25, four fire extinguishers were set off on the first floor. Also on that floor, a shower door was broken in half and mirrors were broken.

• A shower in a bathroom on the third floor was filled with trash and left running, which caused flooding on Sunday, Feb. 26.

• On Friday, March 2, an exit door into Murphy near the Student Health Center was damaged.

Both incidents on Feb. 17 cost approximately $4,000, the March 2 vandalism cost close to $3,275 and the Feb. 25 damage cost approximately $500, according to Brown. The incident on Feb. 26 cost $150 in cleaning costs.

“Residence Life has been working in cooperation with Campus Safety Services to investigate any information available about who may be responsible for the damage. In some of the minor incidents of damage [or] vandalism, some individuals have come forward and taken responsibility,” Brown said. “CSS is continuing to follow up with students as information becomes available.”

Murphy senior resident assistant Nathan Kearns said students have started to come forward with information.

“There are kids in the building that are doing the right thing,” he said.

Kearns also told The Carroll News that while the incidents this year have been costly, he has seen a lot less vandalism in Murphy than in previous years. He said that, Murphy did not have any broken windows until November, where that is often a problem throughout the year.

Brown said she is frustrated by the continuing vandalism.

“I know the damage and vandalism is being done by a few individuals, yet their actions are having a significant impact on everyone in Murphy.  I know the staff and the majority of residents are disappointed and frustrated as well,” she said. “I hope there are individuals who are willing to come forward and give us information, so we are able to hold people accountable.”

Damages will be billed to either residents of the floor where the vandalism took place or to all residents of Murphy if culprits are not found, Brown said.

“In order to hold individuals accountable for their actions, we need the other members of the community to be willing to come forward and share information,” she said. “I recognize this is difficult because students don’t want to be seen as ‘telling’ on their friends. However, it is important so everyone is not paying for the actions of one person or a small group of people.”

The Office of Residence Life has informed Murphy residents of the vandalism through floor meetings and emails, and had additional security stationed in the residence hall this past weekend, Brown said. If vandalism continues, security may become a presence every weekend in Murphy.

According to Brown, most of the damage in Murphy throughout the year has taken place on the first and third floors.

“I don’t think there is a particular reason why these areas have seen more damage,” she said.

If students wish to report any information, Brown said they can contact Murphy area coordinator Pat Caruso, Campus Safety Services or the anonymous tipline.

“We can only help stop this behavior if we have information,” she said.