Thefts Continue to Impact Theater Department

By Molly Igoe
News Editor

On Thursday Oct. 26, five students in Gibson Center for the Arts reported that their belongings had been stolen.

Four of the thefts occurred in the men’s dressing room and one occurred in the green room. Among the items that were stolen was money, with one student losing up to $40 in cash, a cell phone case, a jacket, a backpack, and headphones. Two of the students’ cellphones were also smashed and damaged.

Roderick couldn’t comment on any leads, but said the investigation is active.

According to Department of Public Safety Officer Brandon McFayden, the assailant(s) gathered the belongings adjacent to Gibson, rifled through them, and left them there.

In a separate incident between Oct 27 and 28, one of the set pieces for “Yellow Face” was vandalized and damaged. Director of Public Safety Gerald Roderick said that someone had written “f*** you b****” on both of the computer screens. According to a Public Safety Report, the incident occurred between Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. and Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m in Gibson.

Yiyuan Cao, senior, and the director of “Yellow Face,” said she was afraid her show wouldn’t happen in time, due to the thefts. Regarding the vandalism on set, she said she was “so angry and didn’t know why they targeted ‘Yellow Face’ for whatever reason.”

“Obviously the theater community has been pretty shaken by being targeted so frequently, so we’ve been working with them on how to build a better plan, and keeping that area safe,” Roderick said.

Dr. Michelle Volansky, chair and associate professor of the theater department, said, “More than anything, the thefts have been really disappointing. We like to think we are a family and that we are safe and that notion has been abruptly scuttled.”

Public Safety has increased the presence of officers during productions, as “people are pretty distracted and focused on just the play,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with drama majors and professors, where they’ve shared their concerns. We’re re-assessing the entry points of the building, talking about locking it down after a certain time, and putting it on a more secure schedule, like we did with Hodson,” he said.

Dr. Volansky echoed Roderick’s statements, and said that Public Safety has been “awesome about providing additional security measures” and meeting with them to determine what will and won’t work.

Hodson Dining Hall was locked down Oct. 27-28 at 9 p.m. due to a breaking and entering incident the previous Saturday Oct. 21 after hours, according to Roderick. Like in Gibson, Public Safety has been reviewing the hours of operation for that building.

“Until we can identify them and stop them, be pretty vigilant about keeping your stuff safe, either locked up and secure or with you,” Roderick said.

To the possible assailant(s), Dr. Volansky said, “We can deal with the annoyance and the added security, but we aren’t going to stop doing our work because of the possibility of theft. Theater is about resilience, adaptability, and understanding others, so we get to practice what we preach.”

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