Tunnel paintings by the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau sorority were vandalized last weekend.
Paintings in the tunnel that connects Bausch and Lomb and Lattimore Halls were repainted with sexual references and negative comments. The vandalism was in the same color paint and handwriting style as the original paintings.
The sorority originally painted the tunnels Thursday evening. A group of SDT sisters repainted the vandalized tunnels Saturday evening, returning the messages to their original condition. SDT filed a security report on the incident.
Some of the comments added on to the walls of the tunnel specifically concerned appearance and weight.
Above a list of sorority sisters? names were the words “100 pounds” and the group was divided into two categories, “over” and “under.” The word “under” had a smiling face next to it, and the word “over” was followed by a frown.
A note said, “Thanks for making me lose weight. Now I am worth something.”
In other instances, additional words had been added to original Sigma Delta Tau messages to change their meaning.
One message that read, “Thanks for being an awesome assistant pledge mom. You have worked so hard,” had the phrase “to ruin our self esteem,” added to the end of it.
The message that was most modified was changed to read “As our ritualist (our link to the underworld)you?ve taught us the true (nature of evil, the)meaning of SDT. We respect you (oh unholy one)and appreciate all your hard work (in Satan?s name). We will never forget you. Much love, the new members.”
The most intricate mimicry of handwriting was displayed in two signs directly opposite each other on the tunnel walls.
The messages were in the same color paint and the handwriting was similar down to the curlicues on the letters.
The sign painted by the sorority sisters said “We love SDT,” while the fake sign read “We love STDs,” and was connected by a thought bubble to a drawing of a girl, implying that it was a thought of an SDT sister.
While this event is the most recent in a string of vandalisms on campus that have been directed at various student groups, sophomore and President of SDT Sue Mao said she did not feel that the recent attack specifically targeted her particular sorority.
Sophomore and Kappa Delta President Jenna Tyre said that Kappa Delta tunnel paintings had been similarly vandalized last year.
?Words were added to our writing in the same color. The messages were sexually explicit, and made to look like we wrote them,? Tyre said.
KD did not report the incident to security and left the vandalism up until the next group repainted the tunnels.
A homophobic slur was also painted in the tunnel in early February.
Vice President and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett said that despite the rash of incidents, UR?s tradition of tunnel painting will continue.
?Every few years it seems somebody does something thoughtless and insensitive that triggers a series of copy cat-like reactions,? he said.
?While it is troublesome … such behavior has not been so prolific or destructive to suggest that we should eliminate tunnel painting. I would not want to punish the entire student tunnel-painting community because of the actions of a few,? Burgett said.
While the tunnel paintings will continue, the recent problems have affected the general mood of some student groups.
?The fact that someone would use their time and energy for this type of vandalism creates a negative image of how our student body treats special interest groups,? Mao said.
However, Black Student Union President LaFleur Stephens said that although she felt some of the offenses against student groups are more severe than those in previous years, the dynamic within BSU hasn?t been negatively affected.
?If anything, I believe that these incidents have strengthened people?s resolve to challenge acts of intolerance,? Stephens said.
In response to three racist incidents that occurred in late February, Intercessor Kathy Sweetland said an official protocol is being created to handle similar incidents of harassment and bigotry.
The protocol is now in its third draft and will be ready to present to the student body before the end of the year, she said.
?I am really pleased with where it is right now and it should be ready in a couple of weeks,? Sweetland said.
The protocol will include a statement of the university?s position on such incidents and will discuss the steps necessary for reporting and prosecuting such cases.
It will create a body of five faculty members and administrators who will form an ad hoc committee when an incident is reported. Any individual or student group can approach the committee.
The five members will be Sweetland, Burgett, Chair of the Diversity Roundtable Norman Burnett, Dean of the College William Green and Chair of the Safety Committee Priscilla Auchincloss.
The committee?s duty will be to ensure that the necessary protocol has been followed and they will aid the student or group in creating a community response.