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Graffiti discovered in PBK

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March 20, 2016

12:36 AM

Graffiti was discovered inside Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall March 14, the second instance of vandalism in PBK since 2014. The graffiti, which included explicit language, did not involve hate speech, college spokesperson Suzanne Seurattan said.

The William and Mary Police Department confirmed that it was in the process of investigating the incident. According to William and Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro, the police department received the report Tuesday, March 15.

“On Tuesday, March 15, we received a report of vandalism at PBK,” Cheesebro said in an email. “We observed graffiti painted on walls, doors, surfaces, and floors. It consisted of profanities, both words and images, and general graffiti. The case is currently under active investigation.”

Graffiti was also left in the shop where the theater department keeps its tools and equipment. This shop also provides access to other technical theater classrooms located behind the shop. The vandals stole nothing from the shop and did not damage any equipment.

Technical Director David Dudley, who is in charge of the shop, declined to comment on the incident, saying only that he didn’t want to give any attention to the perpetrators.

“Sorry,” Dudley said in an email. “I don’t want to give the vandals any publicity.”

According to theater major Jordan Leek ’17 this incident is concerning because it represents a lack of adequate security measures in PBK. The theater does not have key swipe access, so the only security comes from regular locks and keys. Leek also says that there are many times, including late at night, when the building remains unlocked with students inside working.

Denying students access to rooms they need to get to because the building doesn’t have more security is a problem. It’s one of those buildings where students tend to spend time very late into the night, so it’s interesting that people spend all night here when the only security is a lock. — Jordan Leek ’17

As a result of the graffiti, the shop and other classrooms in PBK were locked, keeping students from accessing them.

“These locks are the only security measure that PBK has,” Leek said. “There are multiple classes that happen behind those locked doors and thanks to this incident, everything needs to be locked up for security. Denying students access to rooms they need to get to because the building doesn’t have more security is a problem. It’s one of those buildings where students tend to spend time very late into the night, so it’s interesting that people spend all night here when the only security is a lock.”

While most of the graffiti is located outside of the main theater, there is a spot of graffiti visible to audience members. According to Leek, the problem is figuring out how to account for texture differences since the vandal used a gloss spray paint and the paint inside PBK is a flat matte paint.

It made me very angry because for me, the theater has always been a place where I have felt very safe and I have been able to come in and not let the stress of the world bother me. It’s scary to know that there are malicious people out there who would do this. I feel like it’s the theater department getting the short end of the stick again. — Jordan Leek ’17

For Leek, the most upsetting piece of graffiti was one that said “9/11 2017,” which she viewed as a threat. According to her, she felt that this incident was another example of the rest of the College not respecting the theater department and the students involved in it.

“It made me very angry because for me, the theater has always been a place where I have felt very safe and I have been able to come in and not let the stress of the world bother me,” Leek said. “It’s scary to know that there are malicious people out there who would do this. I feel like it’s the theater department getting the short end of the stick again.”

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About Author

Sarah Smith

News Editor Sarah Smith '19 is an undeclared major from Ashburn, VA. She formerly served as Associate News Editor.