Carson Bonner, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
Ethan Hague, Campus Carrier staff writer
On Nov. 3, at 12:37 a.m. Berry police responded to a report of vandalism on the WinShape sign on Mountain Campus. Upon arrival, they were able to interview a witness who said that he saw three males near the sign, which had an upside-down cross spray painted on it as well as squiggles that appeared to be a pentagram. Police were able to identify the three individuals as Berry college students.
The witness of the incident told police that he had seen the three males hiding in the bushes in the vicinity of the graffiti. When the witness asked them what was going on and if they were responsible for the vandalism on the sign, they appeared nervous and quiet and said they were just relaxing and stargazing. After being further questioned by the witness, one suspect admitted to being responsible for the incident. After this admission, the suspects drove away in one suspect’s vehicle. The witness as well as a resident nearby were able to identify the suspects based on their Instagram accounts.
According to the police incident report, the vandalism occurred after one of the suspects broke up with his girlfriend. In the report that was written by Berry College Police Officer Anthony Loveless, it states that the suspect was feeling upset after his breakup and went to Mountain Campus to blow off some steam with his friends.
“He said he had broken up with his girlfriend of two years and was upset and they went to spray paint trees and the road,” Loveless said in the report. “He said they hadn’t planned on what they were going to paint, just that they were going to paint something.”
One suspect admitted to driving himself and his friends up to Mountain Campus in his girlfriend’s car but said he did not paint anything. The suspects said they decided to paint the WinShape sign because they believed students in the WinShape program thought they were better than everyone.
“[One suspect] said that he spray painted the swirls on the sign,” Loveless said. “When asked why he did it, he said that he was just being there for his friend. He, too, said that they didn’t like WinShape’s belief that they were better than everyone.”
According to the report, the suspects were also entirely unaware of what the program entails, as well as what occurs in the summer WinShape program. WinShape is a Christian organization funded by Chick-fil-a that has a scholarship program at Berry as well as summer camps and programs for children, teens and adults. The suspects did not know this.
“When asked if they knew what WinShape does at the retreat, [one suspect] had no idea,” Loveless said. “[Another suspect said he] thought they did exorcisms. After learning that a large part of the programs offered are faith-based retreats trying to help people save their marriages, both showed a lot of remorse.”
The suspects have not been charged with a crime, instead, they have been reported to the Dean of Students office for disciplinary action.