Katelynn Singleton, news editor
Between Oct. 27 and 29, Berry College Police arrested three students in relation to property damage to Morgan and Dana Halls. All three students have since been released on bond.
Two of the students were arrested in relation to damage to Morgan second central. According to sophomore Adam Guyden, a student who lives on the damaged hall, the incident occurred during on Oct. 17 at around 2 a.m. The damages included numerous broken ceiling tiles, all three of the exit signs being broken in some form, the hall bulletin board being torn down, and the paper towel dispenser being shattered. Guyden said that many of the tiles looked as though someone had shoved a pole into them, with others seeming to have had a fist punched through them.
“Before the guys came in and fixed some of them [ceiling tiles], they were just on the ground in pieces,” Guyden said.
According to Guyden, this is not the first time there has been damage to Morgan. The exit signs have had to be replaced several times this year due to damages.
“Those [exit signs] are constantly broken in some manner,” Guyden said. “They were [by] a student, 100%.”
The damages to First East Dana included the removal of a water fountain from the wall, flooding the immediate area. The incident occurred on Oct. 24.
It’s unknown if the students involved have had a history of similar incidents.
Incident reports have two different processes. The conduct process through Residence Life is based on the Viking Code and the agreements a student has made with Berry. When something is reported to the police, the incident generally has a criminal aspect to it. According to Berry College Police Major Ryan Chesley, incidents sometimes have two investigations. One with the police department regarding the criminal aspect and one with res life regarding the violation of Berry conduct policy.
“When reported to police, there is often, not always, a criminal aspect involved, so we’re dealing with state law at that point,” said Chesley.
According to Chesley, when the police department began investigating the incidents, they noticed that this wasn’t the first time damage occurred. Chesley said that there have been minor instances of vandalism that have been building up throughout the year. When minor incidents occur and they aren’t reported or responded to in the correct manner, they can escalate into bigger issues such as the ones that occurred last month.
“This creates a pervasive culture that this is acceptable behavior,” Chesley said. “What starts out as minor relatively inconsequential activities grow to expensive and significant damage.”
The arrest report from the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office states that all three students have been charged with second degree criminal damage to property. In the state of Georgia, in order to be charged with second degree damage a person must intentionally damage property and the damage has to exceed $500. If convicted, a person can face between one to five years in prison. The incidents are still under investigation.