VANDAL STRIKES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT DURING BREAK
Editor in Chief
Standefer Hall will be closed for the first week of the semester due to extensive flooding on the two lower floors, which occurred during the winter break. The flooding was apparently caused by vandalism to water fixtures and pipes throughout the building.
“We suspect that a heavy, blunt instrument was used,” said PSU police lieutenant Tommy Crompton. “Like a sledgehammer, maybe, or a cinder block or brick or that sort of heavy instrument. We have not found this instrument in or near the building and suspect that the perpetrator carried it away with him [sic] or her person.”
Floors, walls, office furniture and electrical equipment, including computers, suffered the most extensive water damage. Books, file cabinets, and stacks of paper were also ruined. Most severely affected were graduate students in English, who share space in offices on the ground floor. “This sucks,” said fourth-year Ph.D. student Max Funderburke. “I lost like six months’ worth of work.” Ilsa Dirks, a third-year Ph.D. student, complained that the blue books from her students’ final exams last semester had been “turned to pulp.”
According to Lt. Compton, the vandal likely had a key to the building, as there were no signs of forced entry. No alarms were triggered. Video surveillance in the building has been nonoperational for several months, he said, due to a dispute with a contractor, but will come back on line soon. Damages were worsened by the fact that the flood went unreported for nearly 24 hours, owing to reduced campus security patrols due to the provost’s budget cuts. While there were some signs of “tagging,” police do not suspect gang activity or any of the university’s fraternities.
English professor T. Wright Moody told the Pronghorn, “this is the action of someone who has no respect for the university’s mission, for learning, or for scholarly research and no regard for others who are engaged in such activities. It is a sophomoric act of destruction, the product of an unenlightened, and perhaps even diseased, mind.”
PSU Provost Fern Ruck sought to assure the university community that the water damage will be fully repaired within the week and that they should not fear any health risks from mold or other residual effects of the flooding. “The cold weather kept many things from growing,” she said.
Any students or staff with information leading to the crime should contact Lt. Compton at extension 8-2351.
Classes scheduled to meet in Standefer have been relocated to other buildings around campus. A list of these changes appears on page 9 of this issue. Professors will be occupying temporary office space in Mahaffey Hall and in the basement of the Agriculture Building, both on the south side of the Quad.