Two Richmond College men and two Westhampton College women, in a drunken foray, climbed to the roof of the Jepson Alumni Center, obstreperously hung out for a half hour, took down an ample banner that read "Welcome Back Alumni," and climbed down with their memento to Crenshaw Way where they were accosted by University Police officers who said they could hear them all the way from the University Forest Apartments during their patrol on homecoming weekend at about 3 a.m. on Saturday.
"I just wanted to do something legendary to leave my mark during senior year," said Eric C., whose real name is being withheld over concerns of reprisal. "Alcohol definitely influenced me."
The four science majors believed they were being arrested when an officer, who had been stealthily waiting for them to come down, screamed that running would be pointless.
"The police did not know how we got to the roof, so they originally wanted to charge us with breaking and entering," Eric C. said. "I showed the officer how we got up, which entailed climbing up the side of the building where the roof is close to the ground.
"We hung out up there, as many others have done in the past."
Satisfied, the officers gave the group a stern talking-to, and warned that stealing the banner, given its value, could have been a felony. All four were referred to their respective deans.
The two women met with Charm Bullard, associate dean for residence life of Westhampton College, on Wednesday.
"We just talked about making smart choices especially for the sake of applications for grad schools and jobs," said Sharon M., whose real name is also being withheld. "She was very reasonable and kind."
As punishment, the women received probation until April 2012 and 15 hours of community service with University Facilities.
The men met with Patrick Benner, associate dean for residence life of Richmond College, and despite their prior record of conduct violations, received only 10 hours of community service
The discrepancy, a consequence of the coordinate colleges system, was quickly resolved when the women appealed for their punishment to agree with the men's.
"Ultimately, the two offices dealt the same punishment, which indicates a willingness to maintain fairness," said Kyle B., whose real name is also being withheld. "However, had the WC student not heard of the RC dean's punishment, she may have ended up having to deal with an unfair policy without knowing so."
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Stealing signage for purposes of collection is not new to UR. During 2010, an unsolved spate of license plate thefts led many to believe that a visionary thief had vowed to collect plates from all 50 states. Also, between August 2008 and March 2010, the cost of stolen and vandalized exit signs and fire extinguishers was $3320.
"Taking the banner down was totally worth it," Eric C. said. "They didn't even put it back for the remainder of homecoming weekend.
Contact staff writer Tanveer Ahmed at email@example.com.
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