Vandal hits Western
By Dave Yasvinski
The appearance of disturbing graffiti on Western's campus has become a cause of concern for the University Police Department and university officials alike.
The graffiti, describing graphic acts of violence against women including dismemberment and encasing body parts in cement, has appeared in washrooms around campus including the University Community Centre and more recently, on tunnel walls.
Const. Wendy McGowan of the UPD said the case is under investigation and they are working with what they have to ensure awareness regardless of whether there is a risk or not. "Anything that depicts violence is a cause for concern. We want to ensure people on campus work in partnership for their safety as well as ours."
McGowan added it is important for students to make arrangements to get home at night not just right now, but always. "This should be done 365 days a year, not just at certain times," she said.
Jim Walden, general manager of the University Students' Council said although these incidents are disquieting it is not something upon which one can speculate. "It's one of those issues that should be taken seriously but whether it will manifest itself in another form I don't know," he said.
Dave Crombie, program coordinator for Foot Patrol, said there is a plan in the works for a summer Foot Patrol program that should be up and running by the end of next week. "The lack of a summer program has been brought up over the years recent events may have hastened the deadline."
Crombie said the pilot project, which was approved last week, will be substantially smaller than the winter program until results are gathered on how many people volunteer as well as how the community responds to it.
McGowan said it is important students contact UPD should they see any suspicious individuals on campus. "We don't want to cause any undue alarm but we feel it's important to provide information related to individual safety," she said.
Gurvinder Sehra, a second-year nutrition student, said incidents of vandalism like this bring attention to women's safety. "It concerns me a lot, especially because I have to walk home by myself," she said. "If it's too dark, I get a ride home."
Sehra said the summer Foot Patrol program sounds like a good idea because there are a lot of students walking around at night. "I've used them before they're good."