UNC criticized for waiting to alert campus about vandalism
Posted April 7, 2013
Updated April 9, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — 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.
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."