UCPD investigates graffiti on, near Campanile

Christine Shaff/Courtesy and Sally Littlefield/Staff

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UCPD has opened an investigation into graffiti that was discovered on and near the Campanile, the Hearst Gym and Barrows Hall over the weekend in what campus maintenance staff think may be related incidents.

The graffiti was found on multiple sides of the Campanile, a tree and the ground near the Campanile, as well as the breezeway and a brick wall between Barrows Hall and the Hearst Gym. According to Christine Shaff, spokesperson for the campus real estate division, campus maintenance staff removed all the graffiti after it was reported to them Monday morning.

All the graffiti, which contained phrases such as “be yourself” and “swag,” was painted with the same shades of red and white, and most of it was painted in similar fonts.

“The way that (the maintenance staff) talked about it made it sound like they thought the graffiti was related,” Shaff said.

Although UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said graffiti is not a “large problem” for campus police, according to Shaff, campus maintenance staff deal with graffiti a few times a week and have a “weekly scheduled run around campus” specifically to find and remove graffiti.

Alec Jerome, a junior and campus ambassador, said that before the graffiti was removed, more than 100 people attended a general campus tour that began at the Campanile on Sunday, which was “really unfortunate.”

“I’ve always looked at (the Campanile) and thought it was something the campus would take pride in,” said Gregory Devine, an incoming freshman from Roseville, California. “Seeing it vandalized seems bad to me because I feel like the student body doesn’t take pride in the campus.”

Devine, who plans to take a DeCal that teaches students how to play the carillon bells at the top of the Campanile, added, “I hope people respect this building that I’ve dreamed of playing in for years.”

Rubie Villela, a Berkeley City College student who visited the Campanile for the first time Monday, said she would like to know the story behind why it was graffitied and thinks graffiti “brings more art” to the tower.

If the graffiti was simply an act of vandalism, however, “then that’s just rude,” Villela said. “They didn’t have to do it — I don’t think it’s necessary.”

DeCoulode said that UCPD currently has no leads but that the department is sometimes able to identify graffiti taggers from repeated tags, witnesses and security cameras.

Contact Sally Littlefield at slittlefie[email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @slittlefield3.