On Mischief Night, four female Cabrini students allegedly fired paintballs at Eastern University property, according to Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development and Jack Sheehan, head of campus security.
According to Sheehan and the Radnor Police statement, security officer Don Peterson was on duty at 2:20 a.m. when he heard noises that sounded like a paintball gun coming from the campus directory sign near the main entrance. A car drove past him on Thomas Drive and, when he got to the directory, he saw that someone had hit it with paintballs. Thinking that the car that had driven past him had been responsible, he turned around and followed the car.
Peterson called the Radnor police, who caught up with the car on King of Prussia Road. The Radnor officer, James Gallagher, searched the car and found guns and paintballs.
The driver of the car was intoxicated, Sheehan said. She was charged with DUI, and the other students were released pending investigation.
Although they have not been charged officially, the students will be charged with criminal mischief, according to Sheehan.
Criminal mischief is a misdemeanor of the third degree, which is a criminal charge with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Eastern is considering reducing the criminal charges to summary offenses, which are the equivalent of driving through a red stoplight.
“No decision has been made in that regard,” Sheehan said, but added that the university would probably look favorably on reducing the charges if Eastern was properly compensated for the damages.
“What we would be interested in is restitution. The damages were assessed at a little over $2,220,” Brigham said.
Expenses include the clean-up and administration fees, as well as pay for the housekeeping staff, who were called in early on Sunday to help clean up before the paint dried.
Five university vehicles were hit between two and ten times, the directory sign was struck eight times, and two signs were hit between six and nine times, according to the police report. The Gatehouse and McInnis were also hit by the paintballs. No student property was damaged.
Dr. Christine Lysionek, Cabrini’s vice president of student development, said that she has not talked to the four students yet and that she is “waiting for more information.”
“This type of behavior is a violation of our student code of conduct,” she said. “It is clearly unacceptable.”
Brigham and Sheehan both suspect that the vandalism was done because Eastern’s field hockey and women’s soccer teams both beat Cabrini’s teams in their games that weekend.
“The history of vandalism is that generally it has occurred on days immediately following an athletic victory over Cabrini,” Brigham said.
On Friday, Brigham received a written apology from the athletic director at Cabrini.
Brigham sent out a voicemail early in the morning on October 31 to inform students of the incident.
“We didn’t know for sure if people saw [the vandalism] and wanted to retaliate. It’s a bad feeling if the vandalism came from within,” she said, and added, “The good news is that very rarely have our students retaliated and that says something about the character of our students.”
With reporting by Lauren Russin, editor-in-chief.