Art can be mysterious and misunderstood but it was not a misunderstanding when the art in the Washburn University Art Building was mysteriously misplaced during the beginning of February.
It has been reported that a mysterious snooper has been rummaging around students’ lockers in the Art Building. The snooper is known to have fidgeted with multiple items that students kept in their lockers, initially turning their lockers upside down. Presumably, the reports have been made with the Washburn University Police department.
The staff hesitated to share details at first, but eventually offered the media with the essential and known details that the staff is comfortable with sharing.
According to Kelly Thor, chair of the art department, the police have been a great help.
“The police have been really helpful in helping us to try to come up with some strategies, like reducing the number of hours, like after hours or on weekends,” Thor said.
Washburn University is considered to be a safe campus, however, students were understandingly alarmed following the incident because Washburn is a home to many students and faculty at the university. In the unfortunate occurrence when students question their initial safety, students begin to wonder where they are safe on campus. The Washburn campus is spotted with surveillance cameras in which the Washburn Police can monitor. When this happened, an anonymous source from the art department explained that when on the job, there is only visual of the front door. Unless staff leave their desks, there is no visual aid of the back door so robberies are easier. Washburn can potentially fund each department on the Washburn University campus to provide surveillance cameras throughout the building to ensure that there are a set of eyes throughout the entire building. Nobody wants their personal belongings fidgeted with without their knowledge. It’s a violation of privacy and one solution would be specified and monitored observance of the full department space.
Thor agreed that cameras can potentially change how Washburn faculty see their campus. If the faculty and staff had more eyes around campus, the crime rate is thought to seize, as the crime rate on campus is particularly low. In fact, this was not the first reported theft in the Art Building. In 2014, someone walked out of the front doors of the Art Building with a flat screen television in their clutch. If there had been surveillance, the incident is thought to have played out differently.
“I would like to see the university as an institution become more interested in preventing theft and allowing us to know who’s in our buildings after hours without us having to take away that very needed access to our students who need the studio space to work after hours,“ Thor said.
She explained that there had been a number of incidents where art is taken out of the building.
“We’ve had capstone artwork go missing. They take projects right off of podia,” Thor said.
Capstone work is a senior college student’s pride and joy, four years of their personal college life molded into priceless artwork.
Students, faculty and staff are advised to report any and all thefts to the Washburn University Police Department, located in the first floor of Morgan Hall, or contact the police department at 785-670-1153.