On the night of Oct. 15, two unidentified students were seen spray-painted messages across the CAS campus before fleeing security.
The initial email sent to the community the day of the incident detailed the extent of administration’s knowledge about the event.
“Shortly after 2 a.m. today, an LC Campus Safety officer discovered two individuals spray-painting a building on the College of Arts and Sciences campus. The individuals fled on foot,” the email read.
Previous incidents have occurred on and around Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2022 and 2021. This year tags referenced both the Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Israel-Palestine tensions.
Some graffiti described political grievances of the perpetrators, with one on the Frank Manor House reading “FREE PALESTINE,” another near J. R. Howard Hall that said “LIBERALISM KILLS” and another on the wall of Smith Hall reading “NO REFORM WILL EVER BE ENOUGH.”
However, other messages were less political. “IT’S YOUR SKOOL [sic] TOO—PAINT IT,” read a tag near J.R. Howard Hall. “GRAFFITI IS YOUR NEW HOMEWORK,” said another near Olin Hall. On Miller Hall, one message read, “YOU CAN TAG TOO! CAMPO IS BAD AT CATCHING PEOPLE!”
These messages indicate that the students responsible were not using graffiti solely as a form of political commentary, but also as a means to make fun of Campus Safety.
President Robin Holmes-Sullivan issued a bulletin announcement to the community on Oct. 16.
“Ours is a campus that values dialogue and interpersonal communication, even in situations of disagreement. Ours is a campus that values empathy and listening, not vandalism of our shared living, learning, and community spaces,” Holmes-Sullivan wrote.
Associate Vice President of Student Life Operations and Strategic Initiatives Bill Curtis expressed his disappointment in the actions committed on campus earlier this week.
“The recent graffiti incident on October 16 represents a deeply disturbing intrusion into the fabric of the Lewis & Clark community, undermining our shared commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding,” Curtis said.
Curtis also shared the school’s current actions in place to address the graffiti.
“Campus Safety is actively conducting an investigation, and in response, we have increased foot patrols on campus while also continuing the implementation of new security cameras.”
Holmes-Sullivan noted the immense cost the damage will incur.
“To fix the damage done will cost tens of thousands of dollars, funds that would have been much better used to increase access and support students,” she wrote.
Curtis reminded students to keep lines of communication with school administration upheld, particularly if any member of the LC community has information regarding the graffiti.
“I strongly encourage any student or staff with information regarding the incident to share it with a trusted advisor or a college official. You can also submit a confidential report online at https://go.lclark.edu/concern.”
Curtis noted the importance of using community resources for healing from this incident.
“It is crucial to acknowledge and address the emotional toll this incident may have on our community,” Curtis said. “For those in need of support, please consider reaching out to the Student Counseling Center, International Students and Scholars, and the Center for Spiritual Life. Additionally, employees are encouraged to access assistance through the Employee Assistance Program, while the Ombuds Office remains available to all members of the campus community.”
Despite the incident’s impact on LC, Curtis urges us all to use this moment to come together as a community.
“Let us stand together, resilient and united, in the face of such disruptions to our shared values and commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all,” Curtis said.