Middlebury students tear down local bar's American flag, 'vandalize' campus amid national crisis
- Middlebury is one of many colleges across the country closing because of coronavirus.
- Students have responded by vandalizing campus on their way out and at least one local business on the way out.
Following a decision to vacate campus for coronavirus, students at Middlebury College in Vermont responded by vandalizing campus and other areas, including ripping down an American flag from a local bar's storefront, according to a report from The Middlebury Campus student newspaper.
The campus paper reported that students partied, drank, and vandalized the campus and town. Damage, the paper reported, ranged from shattered windows to stolen signs to ruined furniture. Middlebury College Landscape Horticulturist and Staff Council President Tim Parsons told the campus paper that it has taken his staff days to clean up the mess left by students.
“There are seniors seeing people maybe for the last time ever, I get it,” Parsons told Middlebury Campus. “But why take it out on other people here? You’re part of a community.” One worker assigned to secure buildings that are set to be closed on campus said he saw items like fans, microwaves, and soap dispensers from residence halls that were destroyed and tossed.
Other items like bikes and bike racks were found in trees. Traffic signs were removed from the ground.
Landscaping staff also spent time removing glass from broken windows in residential halls.
Local businesses were also victims of the vandalism. Two Brothers Tavern, a restaurant near campus, had a sign torn down, even as the bar, like others across the country, face financial anxiety as federal, state, and local officials are encouraging residents not to visit restaurants and bars amid concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a Facebook post, the restaurant called the behavior “absolutely disgusting.”
The small business owners also said the students tore down their American flag, along with part of its sign.
"I find this behavior absolutely disgusting, especially in light of everything we are all currently going through. This is a time to come together and support each other as friends and neighbors. It is not a time to tear each other apart, wreak havoc and be destructive," the tavern owners wrote. "Small businesses like ours have razor-thin profit margins and even less time to pay for and fix such things as those caused by last night's destructive behavior. Have a little respect when you are here, at home and everywhere you go in the world. It will serve you well."
"Sadly, we are now forced to review whether or not it is in our best interest to continue College Night next fall," the post concluded.
Campus Reform reached out to Middlebury College and Parsons for comment but received no response in time for publication.