Students protest recent vandalism

Walkout for increased administrative and XUPD action attains large turnout

Words by joe clark, sports editor
Photos by Hunter Ellis, Multimedia Managing Editor
Coverage by Morgan Miles and Ethan Nichols, Staff Writers

Yesterday morning, Xavier students held a walkout to protest the lack of administration response to recent vandalism incidents on campus. 

Students and faculty began showing up at 10:55 a.m. for the 11 a.m. protest, and by 11:06 a.m students were being asked to stand on the upper levels of Gallagher to spread out the crowd. Five minutes later, the demonstration began. 

At the conclusion of the event, students formed lines to sign a banner with “HEAR OUR VOICES” along with a petition calling for “justice, action and unity.”

Newswire photos by Hunter Ellis
Student protestors gather at Ryan’s Landing in Gallagher Student Center.

The event was organized by sophomores Rhea Goodwyn, Kelaiah Smith and Eleyna Rudolph, who felt inspired to mobilize after they perceived repeated administrative inaction regarding the vandalism on March 23. 

“We’re not trying to end racism. We’re not trying to end vandalism,” Rudolph said. “It’s going to happen, but we feel as if ‘Why is it that it’s always at us but nothing happens to them back?’” 

The Student Government Association (SGA) helped promote the event and provided the funding for buttons. 

“I hope that the administration hears the cry from students that our entire student body needs resources and support,” SGA President Annalese Cahill said. 

“Even though we want to give the perpetrators of vandalism as minimal attention as possible, we still want to make sure that we are supporting our students in the ways that they need and not placing the entire burden on them when these events happen around campus,” she said. 

Newswire photos by Hunter Ellis
Protest organizers provided students, staff and faculty with a banner and petition to sign in solidarity. The petition centers on “justice, action and unity.”

Other students echoed similar sentiments.

“I feel like just receiving an email… saying there’s an investigation but hearing nothing after that, you know, it doesn’t really change much on our campus,” junior biology major Lee Bennett said. “I would like to see something different than all the other campuses… every time something happens on any major campus, it’s just an email and then no repercussions.”

During the walkout, there was a proposal for bi-weekly meetings between students, faculty and XUPD to address campus safety concerns. 

“We’ve been focused on this for quite some time,” XUPD Chief Robert Warfel said. “And one of the struggles that we have been having, many departments across the US right now is… we’re down essentially 30% of our personnel.” 

“So much of my time is focused on hiring and retention and to bring people in and working within the department. Yet, we focus on investigations as well as these issues that are impacting the community and campus,” he added.

Dr. Colleen Hanycz, president, addressed the vandalism that motivated yesterday’s demonstration. 

“I think the other part of this conversation, what triggered this, was yet another visit of our Patriot Front members, as we understand it, who deface signs and put up stickers,” Hanycz said. “We have to have a serious conversation about whether or not we can prevent that, what that prevention actually would look like when you put cameras up that will prevent them from coming back.”

Hanycz recognized that the impact of the vandalism has spread beyond property damage to safety concerns on campus, reiterating that cameras could help XUPD and administrators understand who is responsible for these incidents.

“We have to decide as a community the steps that we are going to take to not allow us to be fearful and threatened and impacted… as we do everything we can to prevent this in the future,” she said.

Provost Dr. Rachel Chrastil, also in attendance, emphasized the need for administrators and faculty to “bear witness to our students and their concerns.”

“We are going to have a community that is characterized by a culture of belonging… because it is important to us and because our Jesuit mission calls us to that,” Hanycz said. 

“I am thrilled to be here and stand with our students (and) to see the large number of our students, our faculty or staff who are standing in solidarity with one another,” she added.