UI repairs Scott Hall damages, student charged for incident

New+exit+sign+is+added+into+Scott+Hall+following+the+vandalism+that+occurred+Sept.+15.+The+student+allegedly+tore+out+23+exit+signs%2C+damaged+ceiling+tiles+and+revealed+inner+wiring.%C2%A0%0A

Fiza Dahra

New exit sign is added into Scott Hall following the vandalism that occurred Sept. 15. The student allegedly tore out 23 exit signs, damaged ceiling tiles and revealed inner wiring. 

By Aidan Sadovi and Fiza Dahra

An ordinary-looking Scott Hall dormitory hallway belies a destructive scene that appeared just a week ago — one of torn out exit signs, live wires, blacked-out lights, missing fire extinguishers and ripped out security cameras.

“I woke up at 10 a.m. because I didn’t have a class until 12:30,” said Ava Kolodziej, freshman in LAS and Scott Hall resident. “And I couldn’t see the end of the hallway.”

According to the University of Illinois Police Department, between 5 and 6 a.m. on Sept. 15th, William Turk, a Scott Hall resident and University freshman, allegedly tore out 23 exit signs from the Scott Hall dormitory, damaging ceiling tiles and revealing inner wiring. 

“I don’t know how that man did (the vandalism) in an hour,” Kolodziej said.

Posters, name tags on doors and two security cameras were also ripped down throughout the dorm, leaving behind scattered trash and wreckage. Several soap dispensers were also damaged. 

Pat Wade, director of strategic communications for the UIPD, also said that six fire extinguishers were removed from designated locations in Scott Hall. 

According to Wade, stolen and damaged property was found in Turk’s dorm room.

One Scott Hall resident who shared a floor with Turk said the aftermath was  “f****** chaos.” 

“Live wires hanging out of the ceiling … it was ridiculous — lights (were) knocked out, ” the resident said, adding that the lights on the third floor were out until almost 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Another resident said that Turk tried to enter their friend’s room but was unsuccessful. 

Mari Anne Brocker Curry, director of housing information and marketing for University Housing, said that “all exit signs on the first floor and fire extinguishers were replaced within hours of the incident.” 

“Building maintenance staff have worked overtime to replace 25 exit signs destroyed in the incident,” Curry said. She was unable to give an exact number for the cost of the repairs. 

Curry also said that some repairs, such as those of some exit signs, were prolonged due to supply chain issues, although she later said that all exit signs were replaced. 

The only item waiting to be repaired was one security camera, Curry said on Sept. 21. 

“The safety and security of the community is a priority as we conduct repairs.” Curry said. 

Turk appeared for arraignment at the Champaign County Courthouse on Sept. 16th, the day after the incident.

Turk was charged with criminal damage to government supported property, and is said to have destroyed up to $10,000 worth of property, according to court records. 

The 18-year-old was released on his own recognizance. According to court records, Turk was ordered to “refrain from using intoxicating liquor or illegal drugs” as part of his release conditions. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19.

Additionally, section 1‑310 of the Student Code says “tampering with equipment used to provide security on campus may result in suspension or dismissal” and also outlines special rules against tampering with or abusing fire-fighting equipment like fire extinguishers.

Kevin Mei, freshman in FAA, and Ethan Feng, freshman in Engineering, said the high-profile incident caused them to make a small but meaningful change. 

“We for sure lock our doors at night now.” Mei said. 

Kolodziej had a similar reaction. 

“The first thing I thought of was like, ‘What if I didn’t lock my door?’” Kolodziej said.  

 

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