Senior News Writer
On Jan. 14, Director of Security and Protective Services (SPS) Steve Glick sent an email to the campus community about the break-in of a campus house. The building was later identified by house members as Weber House. “Several student rooms were entered and items were taken,” Glick stated. “The incident is being investigated by SPS and the police department. There are no suspects at this time.”
When asked how the break-in was discovered, Glick said, “Officers saw a light on in one of the small houses and upon checking found that someone had gone through the house, damaging a door. There were no obvious signs of entry.” Jason Cerniglia ’20, a resident of Weber House, said, “The members of Weber House heard about the break-in upon arriving back to campus on Sunday, Jan. 12, when a resident entered the house that afternoon.” Cerniglia added that the break-in was reported on either Dec. 20 or 21.
“The responding officer believed that an incident did occur, but from his/her perspective, no items of value were stolen,” Cerniglia stated. Jacob Stewart ’20 commented on the initial response of the officer who discovered the incident. “The responding officer did not file a police report when the incident occurred,” he said, “because [they] believed it would be too difficult for the members of the house to determine what had been taken.” Stewart added that the officer filed the incident as “informational” and that “given this designation, the break-in was not flagged by the system and the Chiefs of Security were never notified.” However, Stewart emphasized that they did not fault Glick or Associate Director Joe Kirk. “We as a house found Steve Glick and Joe Kirk to be helpful through the process,” Stewart said. “We do not want to speak for either of them, but the negligence exhibited by the responding officers were not taken lightly by Steve and Joe, or the house.” Jacob Beuter ’20 reiterated Kirk’s helpfulness, saying, “Joe Kirk inspected the property and placed latches onto multiple basement windows.” Beuter said the culprit likely entered the house through a basement window that could be pushed open from outside.
Other members of the house including Mick Appel ’20 and Seth Burke ’21 reported that out of the 10 house members, at least six had items stolen. Although they cannot go into the specifics, miscellaneous objects such as clothing items and change jars were taken.
When asked about the morale of the house, member Clark Morin ’20 stated, “There is obviously a level of anxiety involved given the incident, but the members of the house are coping with the situation well.”
In Glick’s initial email, he finished by reminding the members of campus to “make sure all doors shut securely behind you, report suspicious activity, do not keep any doors propped open, secure first floor windows and report any nonworking doors or windows to Facilities or SPS.” Moreover, “residents of small houses can request a security review of their houses by contacting” Kirk or Glick.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, a meeting was held with Hastings+Chivetta, an architectural firm that specializes in campus master planning. According to an email that day from Dean of Students Scott Brown, students were invited to participate in this open forum to “provide input on key issues for the 2020 Master Plan.” The email elaborated that “campus master planning at the College has been in place since 1900.” This meeting was separate from the open sessions held recently regarding the Lowry Center renovations.
In attendance from Hastings+ Chivetta were Project Manager Carl Drafall, Programmer Nancy Sopuch and Project Designer Tom Anagnos. The meeting was also attended by several members of the administration and eight students. Mike Taylor, associate vice president for Facilities, Design and Con- struction, went into detail about what a master plan is and why the College needs it.
“A campus master plan is a physical manifestation of our college’s strategic plan,” he said. “At its best, it is a road map for the future of a campus, and becomes a crucial tool in confirming that short-term projects are working in conjunction with long- term plans and goals.”
The meeting started with a presentation by Anagnos focused on understanding the 2020 Master Plan objectives, providing an update on the 2012 Master Plan and opening up the floor the students for their input. He explained that this was the first “workshop” of five (amongst several other meetings) to develop the Mas- ter Plan that will culminate with a presentation to the Board of Trustees currently scheduled for May 28- 30, 2020.
Regarding the 2012 Master Plan, Anagnos explained that some of the goals were accomplished while others were not. Accomplishments included the phased renovations of Andrews, Armington and Stevenson Halls, suite-style living in Gault School- house, the construction of Ruth W. Williams Hall of Life Science and the upcoming renovation of the Lowry Center. Objectives that were not yet completed would be prioritized in the 2020 Master Plan. This includes the expansion of parking, a new roof for McGaw Chapel and notably, the repurposing of L.C. Boles Memorial Golf Course.
There are four main objective areas for the upcoming Master Plan: campus-wide issues, academics, student life and athletics.
Two students in attendace, Tristan Donohoe ’20 and Emmy Todd ’22, focused on student life, specifically the housing options and their condition. Donohoe emphasized the importance of volunteer program houses on campus and his recommendation for those to be options in the future if the current houses were torn down.“Basically, I wanted to make sure the improvements to student housing (specifically program houses) were going to hold precedence in the 2020 Master Plan for the campus,” Donohoe stated. “I tried to bring to [the firm’s] attention how unique the program houses are for Wooster; I really do think there’s great potential to keep students engaged with the community outside of the College in a positive, productive manner.”
While Donohoe expressed his support for program houses, he also ac- knowledged they are in disrepair. “I emphasized the health threats the current state of the program houses pose for students, as well as concerns over accessibility,” he said.
Todd echoed those sentiments and added that residence halls are also in bad shape.“I would like the College to focus on program houses and residence halls such as Bissman and Holden,” Todd said. “[These] are the residence halls I see being the worst off and [have been] neglected for a very long time. Program houses are also some of the worst options for housing on campus … Many houses have issues with their heating, number of bathrooms and just general upkeep such as peeling paint, crumbling molding and common rooms in disarray.”
Regarding the athletics objective, the presenters raised the possibility of getting rid of the golf course, which is free for students, and using the land for other projects, such as new tennis courts, expanded parking and more sports fields. According to Vice President of Finance & Business James Prince, the College is currently operating the course at a loss.
Representatives from the firm took notes throughout and asked several questions directly to students. Taylor elaborated on the importance of these conversations.
“Speaking directly to our archi- tects will help them fit together per- spectives that will connect people and resources and result in the plan that is best for our entire campus community,” he said. “We encourage students to attend upcoming sessions and share their thoughts on how the College of Wooster campus can best accommodate their needs now and in the future.”
Regarding the financial aspect of these projects, Vice President for Ad- vancement Wayne Webster stated, “It’s still too early in the process to discuss how philanthropy will play a role in making the Master Plan a reality. The first priority is to identify our needs and the vision for campus over the next seven to 10 years.”
Senior News Writer
On Oct. 4, President Sarah Bolton emailed the college community with news regarding hate propaganda stickers that were found on campus. “Student Protective Services (SPS) received a tip from a student earlier this week about hate propaganda posted on campus that they subsequently removed,” Bolton stated in her email. “Today we received another tip from a faculty member about multiple additional postings.”
When the administration was made aware of the stickers, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Ivonne M. García explained, “In the morning of Friday, Oct. 4, before 8:30 a.m., a faculty member emailed President Bolton and myself photos of one of the Patriot Front’s posters that was placed behind Kauke. Dean [of Students Scott] Brown and I immediately went to locate the posters and we mobilized SPS and facilities personnel quickly to have them photographed, catalogued and removed. About 50 posters were found and removed across campus by the end of that day.”
García said that other tips had been provided earlier, “but without a location and the person who provided the tip removed the poster before calling, we were unable to fully investigate.” Moreover, a bias complaint was filed the same day, which “notified the Bias Response Team, which includes Dean Brown and myself,” García added.
Bolton stated that the stickers displayed messages like “Not Stolen, Conquered” and that they “are attributed to the Patriot Front, a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).”
According to the SPLC, “Patriot Front is an image-obsessed organization that rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism. Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country.”
Bolton said that the stickers could be attributed to Patriot Front due to the fact that some stickers identified the Patriot Front, including their name and website. Moreover, Bolton commented that recent news articles as well as Patriot Front’s Twitter account allowed the College to identify which group was responsible for distributing the stickers. “On Patriot Front’s social media they showed photos of stickers and other postings placed at over 100 campuses within the week that Wooster was targeted. (Their Twitter account, where these postings were made, now appears to have been suspended for violation of Twitter’s rules),” Bolton said.
Shortly after Bolton’s initial email was sent, García invited the campus community in an email to a “Campus Gathering Against Hate,” which was held at 5 p.m. that same day (Oct. 4) in the Lowry Pit. “Our goal was to come together as a community that rejects hate speech and intimidation,” García stated. Brown also commented on the gathering, saying, “We fervently believe hate has no place on the Wooster campus and we made it a priority to share this message in our gathering in the Lowry Pit, and to give our community the opportunity to share their concerns, questions and feelings following the incident.”
During the gathering, Bolton stated that “keeping our community whole in the face of attempts to intimidate immigrant and international members of our community and students, staff and faculty of color requires much more than only contacting the police and making sure those who posted the hate stickers are held responsible.” Bolton outlined five steps the campus community must undertake in order to stand in solidarity against racist attacks, which are as follows:
• “It requires everyone standing together to make it clear that hate has no home here.
• It requires everyone speaking out to make it clear that excellence demands an inclusive, welcoming and equitable community with as many voices, perspectives and identities from across the US and around the world as possible.
• It requires everyone speaking out to make it clear that diverse and international community is Wooster’s foundation and greatest strength, one which we are honored to have, and committed to support and grow.
• It requires action from us as a college to make this an ever stronger, more equitable and inclusive place, free of discrimination.
• And it requires everyone standing with and standing up for those who are targeted, to be sure that no one stands alone.”
Although the entire college community was invited to the event, the attendance was relatively low. However, Cormac Kelly ’20, provided an insight into the low attendance. “Because the gathering occurred at the beginning of fall break, it was lightly attended with far more administrators than students present. Since it was not known who had put up the stickers, there was very little the administration could do at the meeting than attempt to reassure the 15 students who attended,” he said.
During the gathering, Bolton stated, “These actions are clearly intended as a national campaign of intimidation and harassment through racist vandalism. This is illegal, and we will not stand for it.” Local law enforcement has thus been informed of the stickers posted. So far, there has not been any success with finding the person who is responsible for the postings.