Vandalism persists on campus

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MARKED: Skilled maintenance worker Tom Andrews cleans a tagged bathroom stall in SAC’s C-Building. Vandals target open areas on campus, costing time and money.

College loses money, time on graffiti cleanups.

A repeat offender tagged the C-Building men’s bathroom last week, adding to the college’s aesthetic and financial problems created by graffiti on campus.

“Everything that was in here, from the front door all the way around the lockers, all this was the same hand writing [as before],” said Tom Andrews, a 15-year skilled maintenance worker at SAC, as he wiped down the stall door.

Nearly every panel of each stall was tagged with a black Sharpie. Lockers were also defaced.

Andrews spends up to 40 percent of his time buffing and painting over graffiti on campus, explaining that the only way to stop taggers is to catch them in the act.

Vandalism has been an issue for students and staff for the past 30 years. For 2012 to 2013, the college plans to spend $4.4 million in maintenance services.

A chunk of this goes to cleaning up graffiti, said James Kennedy, the interim vice president of Administrative Services.

Anti-graffiti material that keep tags from drying quickly is now being used in the bathrooms, allowing a wider window of time for clean-up crews to scrub them off.

“Adding the protective sealers to the walls of the buildings for the soccer field and track fields will cost a few thousand dollars,” said Peter Hardash, Vice Chancellor of Business Operations/Fiscal Services.

“In the long run, it is much cheaper to pay for the sealers than it is to try to remove the dried-on graffiti,” Hardash said

Vandals are nearly impossible to catch inside bathrooms because cameras are not allowed, but SAC’s new surveillance system has aided in catching criminals elsewhere
on campus.

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Security cameras caught a student tagging a barricade at the south entrance to the campus near Middle College High School on Nov. 2.

Campus Safety took down the suspect’s license plate number and has been working with the Santa Ana Police Department to prosecute the vandal, Lt. James Wooley of District Safety and Security said.

Students from Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School, north of SAC, are believed to account for a large part of the tagging, Wooley said.

For this reason, student assistants in orange security vests stand at the corner of Bristol and 17th Streets, monitoring the perimeter of campus.

MARKED: Skilled maintenance worker Tom Andrews cleans a tagged bathroom stall in SAC’s C-Building. Vandals target open areas on campus, costing time and money.


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