“On March 3, at about 1:30 in the morning, Campus Safety officers were notified of an
individual who was vandalizing some of the student sculptures,” Director of Campus Safety and Compliance Jeff Maher said, “and they were successful in identifying the person who we believe committed that offence.”
Keene State College Sculpture Professor Miles Warner said it was sad to know about the sculpture vandalism. He said, “Students worked really hard. That’s [about] six weeks of work,” he said.
“[These are] the sculptures we spent half the semester working on. It’s our mid-term project. We have more projects to do,” KSC senior Inja Diamond said.
Maher said Campus Safety was on patrol in the area at the time, which is when they came across some of the things as they were happening. Maher said. “These projects were obviously projects that other students spent a significant amount of time working on, and to have [them] destroyed, I’m sure, will have adverse effects on them and their experience here at Keene State College.”
Diamond said the actions were upsetting. “It was pretty upsetting to think that a student would come by and destroy five weeks of work of every student. They didn’t think of the time and energy that goes into it. They didn’t really have respect for the art,” Diamond said.
“It is a little discouraging to think I put all the work into it and to have it just broken away,” Diamond added. However, she said Warner told her class that putting the sculptures outside meant there was a risk of it getting broken. More people would get to appreciate it, and he thought keeping it outside rather than inside, where it would never get broken, was better. Inside, not as many people would see it.
Warner said, “[Putting the sculptures outside means] you run the risk of one person destroying all your work… but you also get the opportunity to get lots and lots of people in the community throughout the college in terms of faculty and staff and students to see what’s going on in the sculpture studio, which is the whole point of putting them out there. I don’t think we are ever going to stop [putting sculptures outside], that’s for sure.”
This is not the first time KSC students have experienced such vandalism. Warner said they have had little incidents before, but usually the damage could be fixed. “This one was pretty malicious,” he said.
Maher said the role of Campus Safety is to investigate the offense, document it and to refer it to
another department, which is the Office of Student Conduct in this case. “Only one individual has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct,” he added.
“If a student is accused of violating the Code of Conduct, we have a hearing for that. The hearing would determine if they are responsible or not responsible for violating college policies,”
Director of the Office of Student Conduct Matt Salter said. “I hope the person gets some repercussions,” Diamond said, adding that she doesn’t think it’s fair if they get just a warning. “No matter what,” she added, “even if that person does feel bad about it, it doesn’t fix the sculptures that were broken.” Diamond said more appreciation of art may help prevent such happenings in the future. She added, “Everyone was kind of mad and sad; everyone was really upset that someone would do that to their sculptures.”
Warner said, “It’s a hard thing to get past, but that’s what you do. You are not going to think about it forever. You can go and you make another one, you make it better, and you put it outside again.”
Puja Thapa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org