By Anthony Caporale
The residents of Saint Benedict Hall are witnessing some odd happenings. Recently, exit signs appear to be crooked and partly separated from the ceiling. It seems that every floor has at least one damaged exit sign. “What happened?” is the first question everyone asks.
Vandalism seems to be the cause of the damage. Rumors began to spread that a person (or a group of people) may have been damaging property this semester. Prefects confirmed the rumors. During the first week of March, prefects started to relay information to their pods about the damaged exit signs. Prefects also asked residents to report any information that they may have. So far, though, no reports of culpability have surfaced.
On March 5, 2021, the Office of Residence Life sent an email to the residents in Saint Benedict Hall, confirming vandalism. The email announced that the vandalism of exit signs, along with ceiling tiles, are a growing problem in the hallways. The staff are on a search for the alleged person or group that is involved. However, the Office of Residence Life is using another tactic to gain a lead in the investigation. The email stated that if no one comes forward to claim responsibility, the cost of the damaged property will be billed to the entire hall at the end of the semester. The Office of Residence Life backed its statement with Saint Vincent policy. The email cites page 23 (section 8) of the Saint Vincent Handbook:
“When a responsible party cannot be identified, any costs may be prorated to the floor, the residence hall or campus.”
And as of now, no one has come forward to claim responsibility.
That means that the ordinary resident would have to bear the costs of the damages. The prospect of a bill drew some criticism from Saint Benedict residents.
“I do not feel that we should be punished for someone else’s mistakes,” said Riley Hovan, a freshman engineering major. Hovan said he sees a slightly different solution. He would rather see cameras installed in the areas that are being damaged the most to help prevent future destruction of property.
However, the Office of Residence Life has its reasons. The broken exit signs need to be replaced by new ones, which cost money to buy. The email argues that the cost needs to be paid by someone, whether it is paid by those responsible or the innocent resident. For now, residents of Saint Benedict Hall must wait, unable to find an exit from this dilemma.