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UNC criticized for waiting to alert campus about vandalism

Posted April 7, 2013
Updated April 9, 2013

Upadate 4/9/13: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill police said Tuesday that they have developed a "person of interest" in the vandalism case.

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student says she is upset that the university waited nearly a week to inform students about a case of vandalism on campus.

The University of North Carolina Public Safety issued an alert and surveillance photos to students, faculty and staff on Friday about the March 31 incident in which someone spray-painted bright pink paint on campus monuments and landmarks, as well as the New East building and McIver dorm.

The student, who did not want to be identified, says the alert wasn't sent out until after the campus newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, published a letter to the editor in which she questioned the university's ability to keep its residents safe.

"I felt the people who were responsible for investigating what happened last Sunday hadn't addressed it appropriately," the student said. "I knew what went on, basically, through word of mouth."

Among the property vandalized was the door to the dorm room of Andrea Pino, a student who has publicly criticized and filed a federal complaint against the university for how it handles sexual assault cases.

UNC vandalism Student alarmed after UNC's response to vandalism

Pino said Saturday that she believes she was targeted and that some of the graffiti was sexually offensive.

"There kind of is a little bit of a hostile environment in and around campus that we just sweep under the rug and don't talk about," the unidentified student said. "This left me feeling less safe. The reality is that if somebody wants to hurt somebody here, you can."

The university could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Not everyone agrees, however, that the school mishandled the situation.

"I felt like it was communicated, and they handled it the best way they could," said sophomore Amanda Gaffey. "I don't feel any less-safe living here on campus."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Objective Scientist Apr 9, 2013

    Whoever complained about UNC NOT using the Alert/warning system to report VANDALISM is an IMBECILE!!! This type of warning system should only be used for matters that constitute a direct and relatively immediate threat to safety and well-being! Start using it to inform people about "garden-variety" vandalism or similar such things would lead to people basically "ignoring" warnings... even those that should NOT be ignored!!!!

  • WooHoo2You Apr 8, 2013

    Why would you waste everyone's time and desensitize people to an emergency system by broadcasting vandalism reports over it???

  • Ex-Republican Apr 8, 2013

    UNC is always news worthy for all the wrong reasons. This school is going to need to hire a big time PR firm to counter all the bad press it generates.

  • carrboroyouth Apr 8, 2013

    The lack of notification is getting really out of hand, and not just at UNC. When I was at NC State a student was sexually assaulted on campus and they didn't send out a message until HOURS later. When I transferred to UNC, again, a woman was sexually assaulted, and again, no notification for HOURS. Why does it take so long to alert others of danger?

    Even if for whatever reason it might be a false alarm, isn't it better to be safe than sorry, and to send a message of caution to all students?

  • carrboroyouth Apr 8, 2013

    "I would be upset if I was a student and hadn't heard about a violent crime on campus, but pink spray paint...?" wolfpack32

    The fact that he spray painted sexually explicit words on the door of one of the women who filed a complaint against UNC's handling of rape cases doesn't concern you at all?

  • sllenterprises Apr 8, 2013

    Not that all universities are perfect but it seems to me that UNC Chapel Hill has some major problems with discipline and order!! In the past 2 years, we've seen what-athletics department fraud, lack of proactivity for protection of rape victims, and now lack of reaction to vandalism!! I guess if the higher ups at UNC cared as much about the academic side of the school instead of trying to protect their lucrative athletics department, they wouldn't keep ending up on the news for problems all the time!!

  • jhk0704 Apr 8, 2013

    To give some context... The graffiti in the residence hall included a knife painted red and left on a counter in the shared kitchen. Again, this wasn't just graffiti, it was graffiti that threatening physical harm against a UNC student.


  • Backtothemountains Apr 8, 2013

    I guess one of the things you guys aren't considering is the fact that some of the graffiti was INSIDE a dorm...dorms which are supposed to be locked and only accessible by those with passkeys...so either the person was a resident of the dorm OR was let in by another resident. And I just love the bashing of the college (shakennotstirred). Not all students are involved in the protesting that WRAL likes to report. Then again, protests have been known to change the world in good ways..but you probably don't want to admit to that.

  • shakennotstirred Apr 8, 2013

    UNC is like a throwback to the hippie days. Everyone protesting everything. I guess it takes all kinds to make this crazy world. Do they offer "Protesting 101" along with AFAM in that sham of a college?

  • mpheels Apr 8, 2013

    To give some context... The graffiti in the residence hall included a knife painted red and left on a counter in the shared kitchen. Again, this wasn't just graffiti, it was graffiti that threatening physical harm against a UNC student.