When they reached their office doors on September 22, Dr. Kathy Lee, chair of the political science department, Mark Hallen, professor of communication studies and theatre, and Dr. Wendy Mercier, professor of biology and biokinetics, discovered that they were victims of theft.
“When I got here this morning, I saw that my and Mark Hallen’s door had been stripped of our political bumper stickers.
Later on, Professor Brink found them in the trash can,” Lee said.
Mercier, who did not get to her office until that afternoon, also noticed that her bumper sticker reading, “Kerry Edwards 2004” had been torn down.
Mercier explained that she would rather have people come and talk to her about their differing viewpoints instead of stealing private property.
“They [the thieves] probably did it because they have an opposing opinion and they think eliminating my sign registers their opinion,” Mercier said.
Some of Lee’s stripped bumper stickers, which she has now recovered, have slogans reading “Christians for Kerry,” “Bush Cheney 1984” and “Shame on NRA.”
A few items, like a black button stating “no mas muertos [no more deaths]” were left on Lee’s door. According to Dr. Lee, when Dr. Betsy Morgan, professor of English, saw the stripped door, Morgan said, “They must not have known Spanish or else they would have taken the button too.”
“This is a malignant action, a really malignant and cowardly action. And it’s kind of creepy. But, the bottom line is that, in the end, my vote cancels out the thief’s vote,” Mercier said.
In response to the attack, Lee has posted a sign on her door that reads, “To whomever stripped my door of bumper stickers: Why don’t you have the courage to talk to me about your political viewpoints rather than taking the coward’s way out, slinking around, taking private property.”
Lee alerted all of her classes to the bumper sticker thefts. Sophomore Shawn Murphy, president of the College Republicans, wrote to Lee in response to the incident. According to Lee, Murphy explained that he will be sending an email to the College Republicans on campus and investigating to make sure that the thefts were not done by a member of the group.
“I immediately condemned these actions, especially since it demonstrated a lack of respect for our faculty,” Murphy said.
“College is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas, and it is being suppressed by such inappropriate actions,” he added.
To the bumper sticker thieves, Hallen poignantly said,
“In the name of Jesus, you ‘mo-fos’ keep your hands off my door. And if you do put your hands on my door – knock.”