Students, faculty, residence hall staff and maintenance employees alike have taken notice of the recent rise in on-campus graffiti.
ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison received eight reports from Jan. 18-Feb. 19, an unusually high number, he said.
“ACU works very hard to maintain a premiere campus appearance and things like this obviously detract from campus appearance,” Ellison said. “It’s certainly negative for students and staff to see, so imagine how it looks to visitors and guests.”
Vandalism of campus property affects the institution financially and aesthetically, Ellison said. Subjects can be charged with a Class A or Class B misdemeanor if they are responsible for an individual case of graffiti, or they can face felony charges, if the subject is responsible for all of the cases.
“Some people think graffiti is a sign of the times,” Ellison said. “But it’s a criminal offense under Texas law. It is a crime.”
Ellison said the perpetrator is likely the same person or group of people because of the consistent theme and set of images represented in each of the graffiti cases.
Officers have observed a common marking of HSK, for High Society Kings. HSK is usually accompanied with a crown and various profanities.
Ellison said that if the HSK marking represents a group of students, he believes someone will recognize the name and can potentially provide officers with a useful lead.
“If anyone has any information as to who’s responsible, we’d appreciate a phone call,” Ellison said. “Information can be provided anonymously, if that’s preferred. But we’ve got to find out who’s responsible and put a stop to it.”
Scot Colley, director of physical resources, said that damages from each case range from $150 to possibly thousands of dollars. Removal of spray paint and permanent marker from absorbent surfaces such as limestone and brick are costly, if removal is possible, Colley said.
“I am just very disappointed that someone on campus has that much disregard for our property,” Colley said.
Colley said he has never experienced a graffiti problem this large at ACU in his time here.
“It hurts the message we send,” Colley said. “The first thing campus visitors see sticks with them. If the first thing they see is graffiti, then that sets the tone for the rest of their visit.”