Campus Thefts Reflect Poorly on Honor Principle

Byline: Brooke Ketron and Alyse Lynch

Posted: May 19, 2010

A recent series of campus thefts compromises the integrity of the Wilson College Honor Principle. The epidemic of stolen items has left the campus littered with flyers and emails requesting the return of long lost property.

Recent Thefts

Someone took a ‘Rain Man' DVD along with a substantial sum of money from the Library, CDs from a Warfield classroom, and an MP3 player from the Warfield computer lab all within a matter of weeks. The sudden rise in reported thefts on campus became a cause for concern.

Student's Thoughts on Stealing and the Honor Principle

The thefts on the Wilson campus have sparked a debate on whether there is a problem with theft at the college. A survey was conducted on Mon. May 10, concerning the thefts reported. As of Tues. May 11, a total of seventy-seven people from the entire campus participated in the survey. Of those seventy-seven people, 55% agreed that theft is a problem on the Wilson Campus; with 12% strongly agreeing and 18% disagreeing. When asked, 58% of participants said that they had something stolen or knew somebody who had something stolen on campus. One participant commented, "My freshman year we didn't have a problem like this. My belongings could be laid in the library for hours and not have a problem."

Most people on Wilson College campus would agree that it is a safe community. Everyone who joins this community is expected to sign the Honor Principle and uphold both on and off campus. There are students that feel comfortable leaving their purse unattended while they use the restroom, and others who leave their cars unlocked. Unfortunately, not every person who enters the Wilson community upholds the Honor Principle.

Of those surveyed, only 45% admitted to always following the Honor Principle. Suggestions for better prevention included revising the Honor Principle and enforcing it more strictly, installing security camera, and having stronger consequences to those who do the stealing. Another survey participant commented on prevention saying, "There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy and more follow-up. The school has made a point of not involving outside enforcement whenever possible in order to minimize the impact that this rash of thefts has had on the Wilson College image as a whole."

The Future for Wilson

Becky Hammel, Assistant Dean for Campus Life, addressed theft on campus, "It seems worse to us here because Wilson feels like a very safe place. This is a wake up call for awareness." While Wilson College remained a quiet, safe campus, the thefts remind students and faculty that no place is immune to imperfection. Students can take simple steps to avoid theft. Remember to lock your dorm or office when you leave, keep personal items with you at all times.

Last Updated: September 25, 2011

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