An unidentified person, or group of individuals, smeared barbecue sauce across the walls and ceiling of the boys bathroom in Paresky Commons on December 14. According to Andover Student Body Co-President Nigel Savage ’23, this was the second night in a row in which an act of vandalism occurred in Commons.
Students were informed of the incident in emails sent by their respective cluster deans following the incident.
Savage, alongside other student representatives at Andover, wrote the email addressing the act of vandalism. The email called for recognition of the effects of the vandalism and the people who they have affected.
“We wanted to make sure that everybody knew that [this happened]… and we just wanted to make sure people understood that this isn’t Andover. One, it’s disrespectful to the Commons staff who work here, because they get here at six or seven in the morning, [making] us delicious food, and they usually leave at like 8 p.m., which [are] really long hours. They had to stay afterwards because someone thought it was funny to throw barbecue sauce all over the walls and ceiling of the bathroom,” said Savage.
Paul Murphy, Interim Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster, was informed of the vandalism by Commons staff and witnessed the damages caused by the second incident after a Dean’s meeting. Although it remains unclear whether the act was committed by a member of the Andover community, Murphy urges students to step back and reflect.
“It’s just not something that happens here –not to say that we’re not above that but it’s just not something we deal with… If it turns out to be a student of course there’d be some kind of response. We assume if no one steps forward, or no one knows anything. We’ll hopefully go down the road of looking at those cameras and seeing if there’s a way to play the records because it’s just something you need to stop and it’s juvenile, ” said Murphy.
Eridania Taveras, a Commons employee who helped clean up the barbecue sauce, felt that the incident was disrespectful. She added this is not a common occurrence.
“It’s a lack of respect, that’s what it was. Also because we are working for the better here, but I don’t know about anything like that [happening], so it’s out of the ordinary and we were surprised, it feels strange,” said Taveras.
Josh Espinoza ’25 was surprised upon receiving the email about the situation. He described the vandalism as selfish and pointed out the effect it had on other members of the Andover community.
“I was just really shocked. Because how could someone be so selfish to do something like that and not clean up after themselves? I mean, not that it’s okay to do that in the first place but someone else is responsible for cleaning that up and it’s really inconsiderate,” said Espinoza.
According to Savage, there are further implications beyond perpetuating a culture of disrespect towards Commons staff. He emphasized the image of Andover’s students portrayed by these acts.
“It [also] leaves a bad impression. Because if you’re on a tour, and there are a bunch of tours going on right now, and you walk in the bathroom. And then you see barbecue sauce all over the walls. It could [leave the impression] of, ‘Oh, I don’t want to send my kids here. This is kind of a bad vibe,’” said Savage.
Murphy hopes that moving forward, the Andover community can cultivate a sense of self-accountability. He hopes that this incident can teach students a lesson.
“I think we just have to be vigilant and I think we have to police ourselves, police each other, hold each other accountable, even in the small things, even things that have nothing to do with barbecue sauce. When someone does something or says something that eats at our community, if we don’t push back on that, we just let it go, slowly but surely the whole place starts to dissolve,” said Murphy.