Last Thursday morning, Facilities Management shared news of on-site vandalism at the recently completed Lo Schiavo Center. Mike London, Assistant VP of Facilities, indicated the damage is the result of a skateboard grinding across one concrete bench outside the building. Repair costs could exceed $1,500, he stated.
London also conveyed major frustration in response to this incident. “The University has spent an enormous amount of time, capital, and other resources in order to improve the campus – in an effort to enhance the students’ experience, and to support the academic enterprise,” he articulated.
The benches appear to be in use most days, suggesting that students appreciate the recent renovations. London and his team strive for USF’s campus to have a comfortable and high quality atmosphere, and this “senseless and intentional property damage” puts their endeavors into jeopardy, he asserted.
Some students are curious as to why the University did not take precautionary measures. “There is a really easy way to stop this. I’m surprised USF didn’t think of this before damage was done,” considered senior politics major and avid skateboarder, Solon Merrick. “The easy fix are metal plates that can be put on the edge of benches so people can’t grind on them,” said Merrick.
Father Privett hopes that students will help the University “prevent such malicious vandalism to Lo Schiavo and the campus generally.” He claimed that “nobody enjoys living, learning, [and] relaxing in an un-attractive environment.”
Other students are apathetic to the damage, implying that campus attractiveness is not their first priority. “Campus should be an environment where students can have fun. There should be no limitations on skateboard use on campus,” said Alec Kaplan, sophomore film studies major and skateboarder.
Conversely, London expects students to be outraged at this type of behavior because “they are the ones that suffer the ultimate loss.” He argued: “They are deprived of a beautiful campus. They are deprived of use of the elegant improvements. They are left to be surrounded by damaged and unsightly structures until they can be repaired.”
While some students view the damage as a result of campus recreation and the administration believes it was a deliberate act of vandalism, intent remains unclear. Bench repair has been requested, and skate stops will be implemented. The individual(s) responsible has yet to be identified.