Signs stolen by hundreds, puts burden on residence halls

Stolen dormitory directory signs across Oswego State have cost the dormitory incentive funds thousands of dollars this past semester.

According to Zachary Davis, hall director at Seneca hall, this form of vandalism affects not just the vandals, but the community as a whole.

This past summer Oswego State purchased new directory signs for the entire campus that complied to the American Disability Act by having brail on them.

“The signs unified the campus and were much nicer looking than the old ones,” Davis said.

Each individual sign slot costs $100. Hundreds of signs across campus were stolen, costing thousands of dollars. In just Seneca Hall, with 600 residents, over 90 were stolen. They did get the majority of the signs back after a long and convoluted process.

Davis explained that the process is different depending on if he knows who stole the sign or not. If he knows who specifically stole a sign, or in some cases more than one sign, then that person is charged for the price of each sign they stole plus the labor to fix it or replace it.

“There is judicial follow up that can vary from person to person. I gave an amnesty period that allowed the residents to turn in signs with no repercussion. Beyond that I know maybe 15 people who took them,” Davis said.

If he does not know who stole it than the money to fix or replace it is taken from the incentive fund of the building. The incentive fund is the buildings fund that pays for desired luxuries of the residents, such as new movies and games. Therefore, by taking money out of the fund, it affects what can be bought for the building. Davis said that he has not bought anything new this year because of all the money that was spent due to vandalism.

Stealing signs was an ongoing trend this past semester. It was rumored that they were improperly installed, but according to Davis they were just easy to take off. He thinks that the students were simply bored and stole them, without any regards to the consequences.

“I wish people thought more about their actions,” Davis said.

He said that he does not think that some students realize that the dormitories are their home while attending college. They think of it as just a hotel or place to hang out. Therefore, the dormitories are not treated with the amount of respect they would give to their own home.

Stealing signs is a direct violation of the “2011-2012 Student Handbook” issued through Oswego State by the State University of New York Board of Trustees’ regulations for public order.

According to the handbook, “No person, either singly or in concert with others shall: willfully damage or destroy property of the institution or under its jurisdiction, nor remove or use such property without authorization.”

Noele Moseley, resident assistant of the first floor in Seneca said, “I think people did it because they thought it was funny.”

In addition, the guest policy for Seneca residents decreased from two guests to one per resident as punishment for the stolen signs.

Furthermore, every floor in Seneca had a 30-minute floor meeting explaining to residents the importance of the stolen signs and the consequences that would follow.

“I was a little confused to why people would want them and then angry when I found out how much it would cost us,” Moseley said.

Over this past winter break the signs were replaced again, but with a different material, with the hope that people will stop stealing them. The money to replace them was taken from the incentive fund.

“I think they will try to steal them, too, but it will be a lot more difficult,” Moseley said.

Davis believes that vandalism in general is an important topic to talk about and stresses that more students should care. He hopes that people will think more about the consequences of their actions to better their community.