Ruggles vandalization incident

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The Ruggles vandalization incident was a much-publicized act of vandalism that took place in 2005.


On Dec. 2, 2005, two students, Matt Brown and Stephen Searles, were arrested after an anonymous student called Public Safety with reports that the two had grafittied a common room and doorway in Ruggles Hall with anti-semetic, homophobic, and racist epithets. When police arrived, the students were found trying to paint over the grafitti. Both students confessed and were each charged with one count of 4th degree criminal mischief as a hate crime, a class E felony.[1] Both students claimed that their actions were the result of excessive alcohol consumption. Witnesses report that when the students were caught, "Steve was incredibly upset, but Matt showed no remorse".[2]


This, along with some less severe incidents, prompted widespread concern and led to the establishment of the protest group SHOCC.


On June 12, 2006 the case against Matt Brown and Stephen Searles was dismissed in a New York court. The students kept a clean record under the condition that they undergo sensitivity training and therapy. Following the dismissal Stephen Searles' attorney, Howard Weiswasser, explained that his client's actions stemmed from his upbringing in the midwest, "He is from Montana and was never exposed to diversification. You can't put him in the middle of New York and expect him to innately understand". [3] Mr. Weiswasser went on to assert that because the students were under the influence of alcohol, their actions cannot be construed as a hate crime.[4]

See also