Molly Robinson 03 was working in the Buntrock Main Office when Area Coordinator Jennifer Lindsay alerted Robinson that someone was painting on the wall in the Commons. Lindsay called Public Safety while Robinson went to the main level where she witnessed Hendrickson painting on the wall.
"I asked him what he was doing," Robinson said. "He told me that he was making a statement and that he couldnt get in trouble for this."
When Northfield Police questioned Hendrickson about his actions, he gave them a similar statement of defesne. Hendrickson told police that his painting on the artwork and wall was a way to express himself. Police questioned Hendrickson about the words painted on the wall and he said that they meant "choose to continue, continue to choose." Henrickson stated that he wanted to write wwhat he was feeling at the time.
Black and pink paint containers and a paint brush were obtained by authorities from a garbage can in which St. Olaf security guard Pam Hoffman observed Hendrickson throwing the containers and brush into.
Other witnesses to the vandalism included Buntrock custodian Kathyrn Keilen and Bookstore Assistant Director David Gonnerman.
Keilen told police that she noticed someone near the wall with paint and a paintbrush in his hands. She also said that the perpetrator had black and pink paint on his hands and face.
Gonnerman stated that he was working in the building and a customer alerted him to the fact that someone was painting a wall in the lobby area. Gonnerman said that he then walked to the lobby area and saw Hendrickson painting on the wall and he also saw Robinson talking to Henrickson when he entered the area.
The college has not yet decided what disciplinary action it will take against Hendrickson.
"With the investigation ongoing nothing has been determined yet," Dean of Students Greg Kneser said.
The cost of the damage to the artwork has yet to be determined, but is estimated to be in the thousands.
"We were happy that the paint on the limestone came off using a pressure washer," Kneser said. "The doors will have to be sent to a professional art restorer."
The artwork that was damaged was a set of carved and painted wooden doors called "Life in the Forest.
The doors were designed by Norwegian artist Dagfin Werenskiold and were to be used for the royal entrance planned for the Cathedral of Oslo in Norway. The doors were gifts to the college from Mr. and Mrs. Donald Winston and were unveiled on Oct. 7, 1960.
The historic doors had been displayed in the Admissions Building prior to the display being moved into Buntrock Commons. The doors had only been hanging in their new location for a day before they were defaced.
"The plan is to keep the doors hanging in the Commons through Christmas Festival," Kneser said. "And then send them to a professional art restorer."
There is no estimation of how long it will be before the artwork is restored.