Over the course of the Palm Court Party (PCP) weekend, several acts of vandalism took place in the Pei dorm area, particularly in the lounges and courtyards of Second and Third Courts. Including these incidents, which involved the discharge of fire extinguishers, NCF Police Chief Wes Walker reported five occurrences of criminal mischief in the Pei area since the end of January.
According to Assistant Dean of Students Tracy Murry, the cost of replacing the three fire extinguishers amounts to approximately $70-100 each, while the other damages – both involving holes in the walls of the Pei lounges – would take $100-300 to repair in total, depending on the cost of materials and labor. Furthermore, Murry indicated in an e-mail sent to students on Feb. 7 that the mess made by the fire extinguishers led the school to “hire an outside company to resolve the problem,” the cost of which was still unknown as of press time. Murry went on to explain that, unless the responsible party were to come forward, the bill would be split amongst the residents of the affected courts.
Walker told the Catalyst that the tampering of fire extinguishers was “out of the ordinary” compared to other acts of vandalism on campus, given the gravity of the offense. Unlike most instances of damage to campus property, which would typically be classified as misdemeanors, damaging a fire extinguisher can be considered a third-degree felony under Florida law, akin to “preventing or obstructing extinguishment of fire.”
When asked about the possibility of resolving this incident, Walker encouraged students to come forward with any relevant information, explaining that the campus police are “dependent upon members of the community” in cases like these. For prevention’s sake, he also stressed that students should “be proactive about who [they] sponsor on campus” and should take responsibility for guests while they are on campus.
Campus Police Lieutenant Michael Kessie seconded the notion, and told the Catalyst that they’d been speaking to New College Student Alliance President Michael Long about addressing the issue as a community in the near future. “[They’re] coming into your home, and ruining your home,” he said.
Murry expressed interest in the idea of community involvement as well. He added that he hopes to “get RAs involved” in “leading community discussions” on the issue of community accountability.