That the Georgia Tech Police Department decided not to take any official action against the students recently caught in the act of vandalizing a Buzz Around Town statue is a disappointment to the campus community.
Interviews with Tech police show that officers on scene had the legal authority to file charges against these students, but simply chose not to. The reasons given for this decision are weak and suggest a lack of forethought. Not knowing who the owners of the statues were, or what their exact worth was should not have been enough reason to let the students go despite being caught flagrantly committing a crime.
For one, as important members of the campus community, Tech police should have been aware of what has for some time now been a highly visible project—as well as a highly visible problem of vandalism. But even if they were not well informed on the details surrounding the sculptures, Tech police should have acted decisively, gathering the necessary information, filing the appropriate charges and even taking the students caught to jail.
Their failure to do so now implies that vandalism is acceptable and that no real consequences for this crime should be expected. In essence, their failure to act sends the message that vandalism is not a serious offense and is suggestive of an indecisive police force that failed to act on a crime that has plagued campus for some time.
The Buzz Around Town vandalism is an important crime with serious consequences. This ongoing destruction of property had a financial cost to the organizations that raised $500 each to build and design the statues, which were then to be auctioned to raise additional funds. Furthermore, the vandalized Buzzes hurt school pride and Tech’s image, with each mutilated Buzz suggesting to visitors that Tech students are not capable of respecting a visually appealing display celebrating Tech and 100 years of the Alumni Association.
While the weak response given by Tech police was disappointing, the real disappointment lies with the students who felt it was “cool” to vandalize. Their acts are not comparable to cherished traditions like taking the T’s around campus, or even to clever (and harmless) pranks made famous at other universities. Instead, their foolish actions demonstrate a brainless quality that does not belong at Tech.
Now that these students are being investigated by the Office of Student Integrity, all disciplinary measures available in Tech’s Code of Conduct should be applied. Someone needs to send a strong message that sabotaging our school is completely unacceptable.
Consensus editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.