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Possible ‘Bias-Motivated Discrimination’ Vandalism in Campion Residence Hall

Alanna DemetriusCampion Hall houses first-years in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program.

Loyola administrators sent out a warning email to students after vandalism in Campion Residence Hall the week of Aug. 25, but school officials refused to provide details.

There’s been a pattern of vandalism on the third floor of Campion — a dorm for students in Loyola’s Interdisciplinary Honors Program at Albion Avenue and Sheridan Road — according to an email sent to third-floor residents by Ami Thakkar, the building’s residence director. The number of incidents and the dates on which they occurred aren’t confirmed.

The email states if individuals can’t “be pinpointed for a specific act of vandalism,” the university can “move forward with holding the community accountable for such charges.” Tiffany Gonzales, associate director of Residence Life at Loyola, said she couldn’t say whether or not this means the entire floor or building could be fined or punished.

“Everything looks different for every situation,” Gonzales, whose office is responsible for the school’s dorms, said. “So it could be the floor, it could be an entire building. It really is situation-dependent so I can’t say specifically for this incident … what this would look like because we’re still working through that.”

Thakkar sent out the email “to make the community aware of some of the policies around bias-motivated discrimination [and] around our property damage,” Gonzales told The Phoenix. 

When asked about whether or not the vandalism involved bias-motivated discrimination — to engage in misconduct against a person or group because of their race, color, sex, gender identity, disability, religion or other characteristics protected by law — Gonzales said she’s “not able to share that.”

“We take all types of reports very seriously and we take the privacy of our students and staff seriously,” Gonzales said. “So what we have done is we have reported everything that we need to to the appropriate offices and are supporting students, but there is nothing that I can add from this conversation other than what is sent in the email.”

The email includes information regarding vandalism from Loyola’s Community Standards — university policies outlining “acceptable student conduct” — which all students are expected to uphold.

According to Loyola’s policy on property damage, “Tampering with, defacing, or causing damage to University, public, or private property or equipment is prohibited” and may result in students paying restitution. The policy also states Residence Life staff is responsible for determining costs when students are charged for damages.

Residence Life works closely with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) and Office of the Dean of Students, Gonzales said.

Residence Life is responsible for reporting incidents of school policy violations to OSCCR, according to Stacey Jaksa, director of OSCCR. The two offices work together to address the reported incident and provide support for any students who “experienced harm as a result,” Jaksa said.

“When something happens, either it’s a bias incident or there might be bias-motivation discrimination, that’s not shared on a large-scale,” Gonzales said. “There are times when students get the support from the offices in place but it’s not something that we share widely, even with our department, and a lot of it is to respect the privacy of those that are involved.”

Will Rodriguez, Loyola’s dean of students, said he doesn’t know the details of the case. He said while he’s made aware of incidents such as this one, details aren’t shared with him because he serves as an “appealing officer.” This means if students are fined as a result of an incident and they want to appeal, they appeal to Rodriguez, who said he must remain as neutral as possible.

Emma Batterman, an 18-year-old first-year living in Campion, said something was written on a whiteboard but she didn’t know what.

“All I know is that someone wrote something inappropriate on one of the whiteboards,” the philosophy major said.

Thakkar declined requests for comment and referred The Phoenix to Gonzales.

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