“To prank or not to prank?” is the question when it comes to some people’s idea of college fun. How far is too far and where is the line between a prank and vandalism? College campuses across the country struggle with students’ pranking and joking that can often lead to hundreds if not thousands of dollars in expenses.
So how far is too far?
A recent prank currently under investigation happened on Tuesday, April 5th, when the “M” from both sides of the Malone sign on Cleveland Avenue were stolen. Within 24 hours Jim Palone, director of the Physical Plant, was notified and new “M”’s had to be bought for each side of the sign.
For Palone, dealing with pranks are an inconvenience, but not a big problem. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Palone has dealt with a plethora of different cases of vandalism and pranks, but says that it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a college campus.
“From my experience at the physical plant, what most would consider as a prank equates an expense for us,” Palone said. There have been years where expenses due to damage have been more than others, but “those years come in waves,” Palone said.
Some students seem to have some fond memories of pranks on campus. Senior Bible and theology major and RA John Detweiler said “the generation of pranksters have kind of left this campus, they used to be more thought-out pranks, but now they seem uninvolved and spontaneous.”
However, there are bounds. Detweiler and sophomore music production major and future R.A. Nate Miller, agreed on two factors that make a prank vandalism:
- Causes permanent damage to property, or requires great expense to fix.
- Defamation of character.
Senior computer science major Tyler Schrock is RA for the notorious prank-pulling floor of Lower Penn. He admits to both performing pranks and being pranked. With everything from releasing dozens of crickets in the hall to rubbing Styrofoam on the walls, Schrock has experienced a lot but has never been in trouble for a prank.
Even Palone says that the safety department leaves room for students to have a little fun.
All three students agreed they would stop to consider whether or not a prank would be vandalism before executing it.
“The difference between vandalism and pranks is vandalism has malicious intent,” senior bible/theology and business major Brittany Miller said.
At this time there is no information about who stole the “M”’s, and Student Development is investigating.
Chelsea Weikert is a contributing writer for The Aviso.