Augustana College boosts security after second act of vandalism on campus

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois--  After the second act of vandalism targeting an anti-violence project, campus police at Augustana College are stepping up security on the quad.

The college set up a mobile surveillance camera and is offering a $1,500 reward to the first person who can help identify those responsible.

Students from the college’s Women’s and Gender Studies program created the Clothespin Project to spread awareness about domestic violence and sexual abuse. The project features about 60 shirts with written words of encouragement hung on a clothesline.

“It`s a way that we stand in solidarity with survivors and allow them to tell their story which can be so powerful,” said senior Racheal Meadors.

The display was first targeted earlier this week. Students found parts of their display and a number of shirts burned.

The second act of vandalism happened sometime overnight on Friday, October 27, after students held an event standing in solidarity with domestic violence victims in front of the Clothespin display.

“People took more shirts down and stomped on them. They wrote counter messages on the side walk in chalk, which is really rude and obscene,” said Meadors.

The college borrowed a mobile camera from the Milan Police Department and is working with Rock Island Police in the investigation.

Keri Rursch, an Augustana College spokeswoman, says the acts of vandalism do not represent the views of the school.

“It is the vast majority of people who support this program. It is a slim minority who is responsible for this, and it`s sad to see their vandalism,” says Rursch.

If caught, the people involved could face criminal charges.