by Christian Diaz, News Editor
It appears that an individual, or group of individuals, broke into Gladfelter on Thursday morning and attempted to rob the ATM machine that is stationed there. According to Public Safety, this is not the first time the ATM has been tampered with.
What makes this act different are the ominous Occupy Wall Street initials (OWS) that were graffitied on to the wall.
The OWS initials elicited the groans of community members who mock the Warren Wilson-stereotype of naive, hyper-liberal first-years who preach to the choir at a “progressive” private college.
Though it is unknown if a student committed this crime, it is worthwhile to ponder the consequences of this event. There are ugly repercussions that could come from this.
One repercussion is ideological. It is my assumption that most students here have political sensibilities that align well with the goals of the Occupy movement, namely to remove corporate influence from the legislative process.
At the same time, I also have the impression that many of our peers do not hold the movement in high esteem due to their tactics, and the way they deliver their message. When Occupy first blew up last fall, “occupy” became a buzz-word that carried a general impression.
“It’s great that people are angry, but they don’t even know what they want,” was a common sentence.
Of course, this is a misperception, one carefully crafted by the corporate media which worked diligently to avoid covering the protests, and eventually to portray the members of the group as clowns living off their parents’ money.
I know this sounds like a conspiracy, but check out the reports about conservative groups who sought to spend almost a million dollars to push an unfavorable narrative of the movement in the media. That’s a lot of money to spend on a small group of silly hippies.
Actions like the one that occurred last week on campus only further separate the message from the movement.
I doubt many people are now sympathetic to OWS, or this expression of it. Certainly not the students, faculty or staff who are inconvenienced because they can’t withdraw money on campus, and definitely not the administration which must pay for the repairs of the ATM machine during a year of tight budgets.
Other repercussions that we should consider is the response from pub safe, who noted to one of our students that they were ill-equipped to pin down the perpetrators had the culprit (or culprits) been confronted.
Will tazers now be deemed appropriate for our community members who wear the uniform? Or maybe batons? Will another possible response be the installation of cameras throughout the building?
Since the incident, pub safe has shut down Gladfelter strictly around 10pm, asking students who may be the in the lounge area or at an office to leave immediately.
Finally, if it does turn out to be a student or group of students responsible for this vandalism, which is a federal offense, how will the community be affected by an arrest of one of our friends, classmates or workmates?
As silly and inconsiderate as the crime may seem, it is being taken very seriously by law enforcement, and I feel for the person who may suffer the consequences of such a poorly-executed and damaging act.