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MU Banners Missing, Theft Suspected  
Amber Leavell
Staff Writer

Stationed around campus, light poles display photographs of students and the new logo of Manchester University. Each banner provides a window into student life at Manchester University, showing students in class, studying or socializing around campus. On Sept. 17, it was reported that four of these banners had been stolen.   

Jack Gochenaur, the vice president for financial affairs, reported the absence of the banners to Dan Chudzynski, director of marketing, who then reported the theft to campus security. According to Sgt. Harold Napier of Campus Safety, this is not the first time the Manchester University-themed banners have been stolen. In 2009, an incident was reported during Homecoming week and alumni were suspected to be responsible.

In the recent theft, two of the banners were stationed near the Mall, in between Funderburg Library and the Otho Winger Memorial building, and were taken at an unknown date. No witnesses have stepped forth with any information, and although the webcam facing the Mall would have recorded the theft, the footage is not archived. 

The additional two missing banners, which were placed around Cordier Auditorium, are believed to be related to the theft. According to Campus Safety, conflicting reports state that the two banners near Cordier Auditorium have not been in place for some time, but yet are still missing. Although it is unknown whether the banners in that area were taken prior to the two located near the Mall, they are being reported together.

According to Chudzynski, each of the banners cost 100 dollars. With four missing, the cost will be absorbed by the University unless a witness steps forth or whoever committed the thefts turns themselves in. “We’re not surprised when banners come up missing that have people’s pictures on them,” Chudzynski said of the thefts. “We’re thinking that maybe someone wants their own photo, or a photo of a friend as a souvenir.” Chudzynski also reported that the “Students First” themed banners had been stolen previously, since they showcase specific students on and around campus.

It is not yet known by Campus Safety or the marketing department which specific banners were taken. “With a theft like this, there are no witnesses and we aren’t even sure the dates the banners were taken, it’s really hard to find anything out,” Sgt. Napier said.

Unless someone steps forward or a banner is found in a room during a fire drill or by an R.A., it is unlikely that the thief will be caught due to the circumstances.

Punishment for the crimes can vary, from being charged with theft, fines, restitution hours and even suspension. “If it is the first offense, it would be five to 20 restitution hours and a 50 to 250 dollar fine, plus the possibility of disciplinary suspension,” said Napier of the punishment if the thief is caught. “If it were a second offense, of either theft or other misconduct, the student would be suspended.”

With the past incidents, a pardon has been offered if a student turns the banners in, but no one ever stepped forward.

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