Four Tech students were caught on Oct. 23 for vandalizing one of the Buzz statues next to Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Georgia Tech Police Department responded to the scene and apprehended the students, who were seen walking toward the North Avenue Apartments, away from the broken Buzz statue.
The statue that was vandalized sits on Techwood Drive next to the stadium, directly across the street from Brittain dining hall. One of the students was seen by the police with a broken piece of the statue in his hand.
The students were all found to be intoxicated. According to the police report, they also admitted to having no reason or purpose for breaking the statue.
The students were not arrested at the scene, but they are currently being investigated by the Office of Student Integrity.
According to the police, it is up to the officer’s own discretion whether or not they want to arrest students and press charges. “If no charges are filed by the [responding officer, the case] is over on our end,” said Patrick Wypasek, deputy chief of police.
The police did, however, want to stress that while the students in this case were not arrested, this does not mean that people can get away with vandalism of the statues or of any Tech property without criminal repercussions.
“They got kind of lucky. I almost picked [up] the case myself. Charges could have been made,” said Police Captain Ronald Weaver.
According to the police, charges that could have been filed included criminal trespass or even second-degree property damage if the statue was valued at over $500.
The police gave some insight as to why criminal charges were not filed for the incident. They explained that at the time of the incident, it was unclear who actually owned the Buzz statues, whether it was the Alumni Association or the Institute itself. So, it was unclear who was the victim of the crime.
Additionally, the value of the statues was not immediately clear. Sponsors paid between $800 and $1,600 for the statues, and they are expected to be auctioned off in the near future.
This incident was the only report of anyone, not just students, vandalizing the Buzz statues that were placed across campus earlier this semester to celebrate the Alumni Association’s 100th anniversary. Many of the statues were initially vandalized just days after being set up, with the antennae and accessories being broken off the sculptures.
Information about this incident, such as the identities of the four students, was limited since the case has now been transferred over to the Office of Student Integrity, and they are currently in the process of investigating the incident.
“These students, like any other students, have to go through the Code of Conduct process,” said Ericka McGarity, assistant dean of Students and Director of Student Integrity.
The investigation process for a violation of Tech’s Code of Conduct begins with an initial investigation, including interviews with the accused students.
The Student Conduct Administrator will then determine if the incident is to be considered a Low Level or High Level case.
In Low Level cases, the Student Conduct Administrator will determine whether or not to make sanctions against the guilty party.
In the case of a High Level incident, the accused has the option to have their case heard by the Student Conduct Panel, which is composed of his or her peers. If this is the case, the Student Government Association handles this process through their judicial branch.
Disciplinary sanctions range from a written warning placed on the student’s official disciplinary record to a full suspension or expulsion from Tech.