SET building vandalized

By Kristen Catalanotto
November 12, 2004

Cecelia Francisco

Vandalism amounting to $12,000 has been done to the new Science Education and Technology building. The damage was discovered on Nov. 3. The building, is still under construction and will not be fully ready to open for students until the fall 2005.

President Iadarola informed the campus of the vandalism in an email sent to the campus: “I cannot believe this would happen to our campus. It is a transgression against the entire Cabrini community, and I’m sure you are equally outraged by this incident,” Iadarola said.

There was also a separate first incident that occurred on Sunday, Oct. 31. On Halloween night a fire extinguisher was set off inside the building by someone who entered through a window. The window was locked, but the perpetrator or perpetrators were able to still get inside the building.

The major damage occurred the night of Nov. 2. “A tar-like substance and gallons of paint were smeared on walls, cabinets and floors, and numerous glass ventilation hoods were destroyed,” Iadarola said in her memorandum. Since the building is not fully complete it is not equipped with security cameras or swipe-cards security devices. Those responsible were able to gain entrance through an unlocked door.

Dr. Sherlyn Fuller-Espie, head of the science department, has coordinated faculty planning of the SET building. Fuller-Espie and her fellow colleagues were shocked to hear about the vandalism. “The building is so important to us enhancing our major,” Fuller-Espie said. After the initial shock of hearing about the damage, Fuller-Espie saw the damage with her own eyes. “I felt sad, confused and a lot of anger, too. It was more than just a prank. It went further than that,” Fuller-Espie said.

The first person to notice the damage was a contractor. The construction company is covered by a builder’s risk insurance policy. Until the building is handed over to the college the company is responsible for any damage.

The damage not only disturbed the college but also the construction crew. Re-doing the work has affected the rest of construction because it is essential to make sure that the work is done in order. The construction crew is now forced to repeat work that they had already completed. “It has a domino effect… someone was on their hands and knees doing that work,” Fuller-Espie said about how the destruction pushed back the progress and frustrated crew members.

Many are asking the question as to why public safety didn’t notice any strange activity on the night of the vandalism. Director of public safety Charles Schaffner said, “Public safety officers have not been responsible for rounds inside the building as the building technically still belongs to the contractor and we do not have keys to it yet.” Schaffner went on to say that public safety officers do patrol the outside of the building to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is taking place.

The SET incident went beyond the realm of public safety and into the hands of the Radnor Police. The college is prepared to prosecute those responsible for the damage to the fullest extent allowed. “We are looking at all possibilities, Cabrini students, Eastern students, Valley Forge Military Academy students and people who came from off-campus,” Schaffner said.

Even though the damage was disheartening, Fuller-Espie doesn’t believe that it will make a huge set back. She estimated that the project will more than likely only be pushed back a week or two. She decided to look at the unfortunate event in a more positive way, “We are blessed in a way because we are not planning to occupy the building in January,” Fuller-Espie said.

Fuller-Espie urged for any students who may know any information concerning who is responsible for the vandalism to come forward. “This nonsense has to stop,” Fuller-Espie said. Iadarola announced a $1,000 reward.

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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Kristen Catalanotto

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