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Four Days of Chaos: Vandalism Reports See Sharp Uptick After Closure

In the days following the announcement that all Boston College courses would be moved online and students would be required to move out of their dorms, there was a substantial increase in the number of incidents reported by the BC Police Department in the public blotter. 

BCPD reported 63 events in the blotter between 7 a.m. on March 11 and 7 a.m. on March 16, with numerous reports of malicious destruction of property over $1,200—including one at Gasson Hall, where two stained glass windows were broken.

“Between the time that the decision was announced and the time that most students left campus, there was certainly an increase in activity that would constitute violations of our Code of Conduct,” Corey Kelly, director of student conduct, said to The Heights in an email. “Many of these incidents fell under the category of vandalism, and this was disheartening for many members of the University community.”

BCPD made 14 reports of malicious destruction of property under $1,200 in the public blotter in the period between March 11 and 16—four at Walsh Hall, three at 2150 Commonwealth Ave., and one each at Fenwick Hall, Claver Hall, Fitzpatrick Hall, Ignacio Hall, Rubenstein Hall, Gasson Hall, and Hardey Hall. Two reports of tagging property were made—one on Lower Campus and one at Roncalli Hall. There was also one report of arson on the roadways of Upper Campus. 

Information about who committed any of these acts of vandalism has not been made public, but the Office of Student Conduct is in the process of reviewing reports, Kelly said.

“We have identified some of those responsible for the incidents while others are being actively investigated. Any student found in violation of University policies will be held responsible under the Code of Conduct,” Kelly said.

BCPD also reported one incident of assault and battery on a police officer occuring at 11:37 p.m. on March 11 on Lower Campus.

Between March 11 and 16, there were 14 reports of underage intoxicated persons and one report of an intoxicated person of the legal age. There were five reports of medical incidents, one report of a drug law violation, five reports of activated fire alarms, two reports of minors in possession of alcohol, and one report of trespassing at Conte Forum.

Kelly and Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore sent an email to students on March 12 acknowledging the vandalism and alcohol and drug misuse that had taken place on campus the previous night, after the University announced it was moving classes online. 

The email warned that students will be punished for conduct violations. Students who committed particularly severe offenses, the email said, could be subject to suspension or dismissal from the University. Graduating seniors could also face disciplinary sanctions, including the withholding of their degree.

“Acts of destruction, violence, and other violations of University policies are not acceptable on our campus ever. It is important to be aware that all students will continue to be held accountable for any behaviors that violate our Student Code of Conduct,” the email said.

Associate Vice President for Student Engagement and Formation Tom Mogan did not respond to request for comment.

Featured Image by Eamon Laughlin / Heights Editor

March 20, 2020