Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Reward offered to find vandals

The Dean of Students Office is offering a $250 reward for any person who knows information about campus group Augustana Right to Life’s display being vandalized on Monday.
Evelyn Campbell, dean of students, said that most of Right to Life’s display for Life Week (which consisted of flags and signs in the ground and on light posts) was thrown into the slough.
“We are very concerned about supporting the value at Augustana of being able to have different opinions and being able to respectfully present those opinions and be treated well,” said Campbell.
As of noon on Tuesday, Campbell said the college had received a few leads, with no substantial evidence of the culprit thus far.
“I think possibly this action opposes that value, and I think if we look back at the past number of years we have often used a reward to try to find out if someone has violated our policies and our values, and we felt that we would make enough of an effort to find out who was responsible,” said Campbell.
Provost Pareena Lawrence sent a campus-wide email on Tuesday afternoon condemning the vandalism.
“As we expect civility and respect from others when exercising our own rights, so we need to extend the same to those exercising their own free speech and expression,” stated Lawrence in the email.
She said that the Student Policies Committee, with input from the Augustana Faculty Council, is currently working on a policy for “peaceful protests.”
“We value free speech and expression at Augustana and sincerely hope that these unacceptable acts of vandalism and disrespect will stop,” said Lawrence. “There is no room for such behavior in our community.”
Leah Baumgart, Right to Life president, said she is disappointed because of all the time and effort her members put into Life Week.
“We’ve been really trying to make sure everything is very respectful and positive throughout life week, so it’s disappointing that we’re not allowed to speak our minds when so many other students are allowed to do that,” said Baumgart.
Baumgart said some Right to Life members are going to potentially make a few more materials but will not recreate the whole display.
“Obviously, there’s some hard feelings about the subject, and understandably so,” said Baumgart. “It’s a tough subject, but that’s why we need to talk about it. We want to be respectful of people’s views but also still keep going on with the things we have planned for the week.”
For the rest of Life Week, Right to Life played the film “The Giver” on Tuesday in Evald and plan to attend The LIVE Event, a pro-life rally for high school and college students, on April 19 from 1-4 p.m. at the Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose University.

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Reward offered to find vandals