Loyola’s Campus Safety is continuing its coordination with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) following vandalism and burglary at Loyola’s downtown campus during protests in Chicago.
The damage occurred amid protests sparked by George Floyd’s death, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, The Phoenix reported.
The School of Communication (SOC) was broken into at 1 a.m. May 31, according to Loyola police logs. Equipment taken from the broadcast studio in the building included 25 iMac computers, one studio camera and two television monitors, according to SOC Dean Hong Cheng.
Lu’s Deli and Corboy Law School were also damaged, but the university said it wasn’t aware of any burglary at the two buildings, The Phoenix reported.
Campus Safety was at the Water Tower Campus (WTC) when the damage occurred, according to Loyola spokesperson Anna Rozenich. The sworn police department’s main priority was placing officers in Baumhart Residence Hall, where a few students are still living, Rozenich said in an email to The Phoenix.
“Campus Safety was on campus when the damage occurred to the School of Law, School of Communication, and Lu’s Deli,” Rozenich said. “The burglary at the School of Communication happened within the span of a few minutes. Safety officers were intentionally placed at Baumhart Hall to ensure protection of its few residents, with other officers monitoring remotely.”
Rozenich said there was coordination with CPD before the damage occurred, but added “no one could have predicted the severity of what was coming on campus or across the city.”
“Campus Safety did coordinate with the Chicago Police Department ahead of the lootings. Because some looting began occurring across the city before they reached campus, Campus Safety was aware of and prepared for the risk at hand before the sudden vandalism and burglary occurred,” Rozenich wrote.
In an email to students from Campus Safety and Facilities May 31, the university said Campus Safety was “actively coordinating with the Chicago Police Department and continues to monitor this situation closely across all of our campuses.”
Rozenich said sharing details of Campus Safety procedures “would compromise the integrity of the approaches utilized to prevent crime and ensure safety.” Campus Safety Police Chief Tom Murray didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
The afternoon May 31, Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney sent out an email to students regarding the recent death of Floyd but didn’t mention the damage to WTC that happened late the night before during protests sparked by Floyd’s death.
Rooney didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on the break-ins. Rozenich said the university supports peaceful protests.
“As such, we support hearty debate and peaceful demonstrations by those who wish to create positive change and correct social injustice,” Rozenich wrote in the statement. “We are saddened that rioters not associated with the protestors attempted to overshadow or misappropriate the real reasons for the peaceful protest.”
Rozenich said the university is “looking into” the burglary at SOC, the vandalism to other WTC buildings isn’t under investigation, according to Loyola police logs.