Education

'Disrespectful vandalism' strikes University of Iowa veterans center

Officials notify UI police, who are asking for tips

The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette/file photo)
The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette/file photo)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has improved signage in the lobby of its communication center, which houses its Military and Veteran Student Services, after finding incidents of “disrespectful and unacceptable vandalism.”

UI officials didn’t immediately provide details about the vandalism. But in a message Thursday to the UI military community, Vice President for Student Life and Interim Chief Diversity Officer Melissa Shivers said administrators have notified campus police.

Officers are working to find those responsible. Anyone with information was asked to call the UI Department of Public Safety, according to Shivers.

“We have attempted to prevent the problem by improving signage in the lobby,” Shivers said.

Details about those improvements were not immediately made public.

“We are proud of our military community and committed to maintaining an environment that fosters understanding and mutual respect,” Shivers’ message said. “While the university recognizes and protects the freedom of speech, even when it is offensive, the university does not protect vandalism.”

Thursday on Twitter, UI student and Iowa Senate District 43 Republican candidate Patrick Wronkiewicz posted a video message about the vandalism.

“This is unacceptable,” he said in the message. “There’s always been talk of an anti-veteran attitude on campus, and it is apparent now.”

Wronkiewicz, a Marine Corps veteran, said he is a member of the UI Veterans Association.

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“We are leaders on campus. We are doing great things,” he said. “And the fact that people come to the areas where we congregate on campus and vandalize it with anti-veteran, strong harsh language that I can’t even repeat in this video, is unacceptable.”

Tips about the incident can be provided to UI police at (319) 335-5022.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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