Vandalism at PARC may cut into dorm’s fall budget

Rasmi Simhan

Administrators are investigating vandalism that has occurred this school year at the Public Affairs Residential College, said Assistant Director of Residential Life Kelly Carter this week.

On the weekend of April 23, a vending machine at PARC was raided, residents said. During Fall Quarter, a first-floor security door was shot at with a BB gun and a bow and arrow.

If the perpetrators are not found, PARC might have to pay for the damages by drawing from a social budget that covers munchies and New Student Week activities, said Scott Medlock, the dorm’s president.

“We’re concerned there’s not enough money in the PARC damage account,” said Medlock, a Weinberg sophomore. “The amount it might cost could drastically affect the programming PARC could offer in the fall.”

Carter, who is directing the investigation, declined to release the cost of damages or comment further. The dorm’s assistant master and a residential assistant also declined to comment.

PARC New Student Week activities include trips to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a baseball game and nightly munchies. PARC collects a total of about $3,000 in social dues each quarter.

“(Vandalism) will hurt more than new students — it hurts PARC as a dorm,” said Caille Sugarman-Banaszak, who has lived in PARC for three years. “This is the first impression they get of the dorm and it’s not going to be the best we could make it.”

But breaking the vending machine might not have been a planned act, University Police Lt. Glenn Turner said.

“Some kids will go out with friends, have too much to drink and do something stupid when they come back,” he said. “Who knows, somebody got something stuck in the vending machine and they got bent out of shape.”

PARC resident Luis Uresti said he was one of six people interviewed two weeks ago in the Undergraduate Residential Life office about the incident.

He said other residents gave RAs the names of people who might have broken the vending machine.

“The machine usually takes money and only a few guys can (shake it). They’re mainly the guys that got pointed at a lot,” said Uresti, an Education freshman.

Uresti said he was asked if he knew who the vandals were. However, once the machine was broken, students were able to take food from the machine without paying, he said.

“I don’t see the point of putting the finger on one person because everybody got candy out of it,” he said.

Sugarman-Banaszak, a Weinberg junior, said she doubts the vandalism reflects a resentment of the dorm on residents’ part. Dorm camaraderie has been high since she has lived at PARC.

“I’m certain it’s just individuals acting on an individual basis, not a real dorm problem,” she said.

But the individuals could be difficult to find.

“If somebody knows (who the vandals are) and they’re not sure they’re going to be safe within the dorm, I don’t think they’re going to report it until they’re way out of range,” she said. “I think some people feel that feeling safe within the dorm is more important to them than having a lot of social activities.”