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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

CSF display vandalized

Published: February 10, 2006
Section: News

A Christian Bulletin Board in the Usdan Student Center was found to be vandalized on Jan. 30, according to Assistant Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams.

As a result of the vandalism, Dean Sawyer has met with members of various religious communities to discuss what was to be done. Dean Adams came up with an e-mail sent to all students Feb. 7 to shed light on what has happened. He was assisted in writing the email by Rebecca Collins 06, who first reported the vandalism.

In addition, an Open Forum on the issue has been planned.

Collins was coming out of the mail room in Usdan when she noticed that half of the Bulletin Board was slightly turned up. Upon closer examination she discovered that the Fish symbol on the Christian Fellowship board has been defaced. In the middle of it there was the word Darwin written in what seemed to be a black magic marker and two large legs extended from its bottom of the fish.

The vandalism came somewhat as a surprise to Collins. At first I didnt know what to do. It was disturbing to see that someone would go out of their way to violate someones space.

Collins decided to go to the Chaplaincy office to report the vandalism. Rabbi Lehman immediately took down the bulletin board in order to preserve it as evidence. A decision was made to contact Dean Adams and Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, and the police were contacted as well to register the act of vandalism.

Jonathan DOleo 08, leader of the Brandeis Christian Fellowship said he was shocked by the vandalism. Since I came to Brandeis, I sensed a community that is tolerant and open. We are used to debates that edify. Vandalism does not lead to mutual edification.

Dean Adams is optimistic about the situation. He feels that there are many benefits to be reaped from it. This is a perfect time to have a conversation about spirituality and living with each other.

Collins shares his optimism that the effort shall be fruitful. When someone vandalizes property its very cowardly and very anonymous. We are hoping a forum will allow people to actually own their own opinion.

This optimism is well founded. Response both within the Christian Fellowship and the overall Brandeis community seems to be positive. People have been very supportive, states Adams A lot of e-mails have come in, mostly positive. DOleos experience has been similar: Staff has been supportive. I have received many e-mails from students expressing empathy with the Christian community.

Never the less, the Christian community wants to make it clear: this issue goes way beyond Christianity. This is not an attack on Christian community but on all religious communities Claims DOleo.

Collins agrees. Groups on campus want to carry the message that it is wrong to vandalize someones space. This is not just about religion.