Above: The “Hop to It” installation was found vandalized on the main campus stomping grounds a week after its unveiling. 

By contributor Sarah Torgerson

Students of VIU’s Design Department have been working hard this semester to embellish the Nanaimo Campus as part of the typographic illustration class. Unfortunately, vandalism has taken place over the past week, leaving some art pieces in need of repair.

Campus security said they are taking this opportunity to review their systems and is exploring measures to continually improve security on VIU’s campus.

The “Hop to It” art piece in the upper quad by the library and cafeteria received a setback when someone kicked back the bunny-eared “O.”

Euodia Mutua, one of the five artists who created the “Hop to It” art installation, was heartbroken when she heard of the vandalism.

“Wow, that’s actually very upsetting,” said Mutua, upon hearing of the damage. “I honestly don’t know why someone would do that. It took so much work.”

It is believed the “Mariners” display, located in the fountain by bldg. 200 (Student Services), was also vandalized. Kelsey Horsnell, a third-year Graphic Design student, and one of the display’s creators, explained the idea behind the floating letters. “We chose the colours to stick with the school’s theme, and then we wanted the letters to float to play off of the term Mariner, which means ‘sailor.’”

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The Mariner installment in front of bldg. 200 before falling into the fountain below. Kelsey Horsnell

The letters were attached to one another, in hopes of preventing letters from floating apart and disarranging.

Horsnell was unaware of the possible vandalism until she walked past the fountain earlier this week, and found the letters “half sunk into the water.”

“Of course I was disappointed, but I wasn’t sure if it was because [the letters] weren’t 100 per cent waterproof and had fallen over, or purposefully made to sink or fall over. Either way, I guess it wasn’t meant to last forever, but I hope it got the message across to students who got to see it while it was still up.”

Found just outside the library, this installation has remained untouched.
Found just outside the library, this installation has remained untouched.

The VIU Art Department is a tight-knit group. In regards to the vandalism of the “Hop to It” piece, and the possible intentional damage done to the Mariners piece, Brooklynne Straiko-Hassenstein, one of the artists who took part in the “United We Grow” piece by the bookstore, said she was “concerned for her friends.”

The four additional artists who took part in the “Hop to It” art installation, Corinna Maier, Sylvia Mynarski, Avery Crosson, and Tim Yeung, have yet to comment, but have been informed of the destruction.

Mutua said she would try to fix the damage, but it is not known how much time and effort it will take, nor if it is, in fact, repairable.

Horsnell indicated that she would completely support a surveillance system, “not only for vandalism purposes, but for students to feel safe as well. Now that it’s almost winter, it’s quite dark,” and leaving classes after sunset makes her feel “uneasy.”

VIU security is working to keep the campus safe, and students comfortable.

Alan Cumbers, Executive Director Facilities and Ancillary Services at VIU, says the first steps have been taken in the hopes of updating the school’s security system. A special “task force” has been formed. The group, according to Cumbers, “is hoping to produce new policy and recommendations.

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