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ISSUE 121 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/7/2008

Ytterboe suffers vandalism

By Mara Fink
Associate Editor

Friday, March 7, 2008

The first two weekends of the second semester yielded an uncharacteristically destructive amount of vandalism in Ytterboe Hall.

From used tampons and condoms in the practice modules, to broken lights and a broken pingpong table, the damage was wide-spread.

Most of the vandalism occurred throughout the ground floor. However, there were also other problems throughout the building including in elevators, where someone had carved into the walls and left broken glass strewn around the area.

Other damage included missing recycling bins, eggs thrown against walls, a vending machine ripped from the wall and various large pieces of furniture such as the piano and pool tables moved from their original positions. There were also numerous noise and smoking complaints.

The destruction in the dorm housing upper-classmen was concerning for associate dean of students and director of residence life Pamela McDowell. "To be honest, I expect people to be responsible in every hall. However, most people in Ytterboe will be renting apartments in six months. You would be evicted if you did this in an apartment," she said.

As a result of the damage, the practice modules in Ytterboe will be locked at midnight and unavailable for student use. Previously, they were open 24 hours a day. Furthermore, if the noise and vandalism continue, more areas of the dorm could be locked in the evening and resident assistants may have to complete more rounds than usual.

Resident assistant Ashley Allen '08 said she is disappointed with the behavior of the few students responsible for the vandalism.

"This issue resonates for me not simply because I'm an RA, but more so because I'm also one of the three to four hundred-some residents living in Ytterboe. It's frustrating to constantly wonder what I'm going to come across when I step outside my door on a Sunday morning after all of the weekend activity," she said.

According to McDowell, the clean up for the mess left by the vandals cost the school at least $200, in addition to the time custodial staff put into cleaning up the mess instead of [doing] their regular jobs. "My biggest frustration with the situation is it's just such a ridiculous and disrespectful way to waste your tuition dollars," she said. "We could have done better things with those dollars."

For Ytterboe Hall Council President Anthony Zbacnik '08, the lack of respect was more than a monetary issue, it was a pressing concern. "Hopefully the students involved later realized that more people live in this building than just themselves, and that they have more respect for the students, custodians, and staff whom these problems have affected," he said.

Allen agreed and hoped that these acts of vandalism would not have a larger community wide effect.

"We place a unique sense of trust in each other at St. Olaf, the way that we leave our bags and purses outside the caf, the honor code, etc. Unfortunately, all it takes is a few individuals acting irresponsibly or disrespectfully to break down that sense of trust. If this vandalism continues, I fear that the greatest consequence will be residents losing trust in each other in the St. Olaf community at large," he said

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