By Olivia Nicoletti
From November 2021 through the beginning of the spring semester, bathroom vandalism incidents took over Rider’s campus resulting in $65,000 worth of damage.
This series of vandalism was first reported by The Rider News on Feb. 9, the expenses for repairs, since then, have increased by $15,000.
The vandalism consisted of students stuffing the toilets with paper products until they were overflowed and clogged. Due to the frequent damage, The Lawrence Police Department was contacted and subsequently they launched a search for the person who was committing these crimes.
There was an overall total of 54 incidents, but after the release of The Rider News story, the vandalism stopped in full according to Vice President for Facilities and University Operations, Mike Reca.
Apart from the frustration students had from the constant closure of their bathrooms, they also raised concerns about the withdrawal of paper products in bathrooms to help stop these incidents.
For any bathroom that has electric hand dryers, the paper towels were removed. While the vandalism has stopped, Reca said the paper towels will not return to the bathrooms.
“Our issue is we haven’t caught the person, so there’s a fear that if we put things back, it could start up again, so we’re gonna wait a little bit longer,” Reca said. “We’ll begin to really re-evaluate after spring break.”
Reca voiced his concerns that Rider had supplied the university with a lot of paper products and hand sanitizers to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, so it was unfortunate but, “it helped too because when [they] were taking them out, there were less opportunities [to vandalize] in various buildings.”
Sophomore English major, Marissa Harding, lived in Hill Hall until March 2, when she and her roommate moved out due to inhabitable conditions.
One stall had been out of order all semester due to plumbing backups. Harding explained the toilet was gurgling and flooding constantly.
Harding and her roommate moved into Hank and Bonnie Moore Hall, where she feels more comfortable.
So far, Harding has had minor inconveniences with the new bathrooms, but she countered that by saying, “I can’t even complain. … I like it so much better.”
She, too, has to deal with the loss of paper towels within her dorm building bathrooms, but she understands that “there are people that ruin it for everybody.”