Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor
Sigma Pi and Kappa Delta’s Homecoming float was vandalized between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, three days before the annual Homecoming Parade, and a police report was filed with Public Safety and Emergency Management.
Chief of Police James Herring said Public Safety is currently developing suspects and an arrest will likely take place. Herring said vandalism is classified as a felony.
He said discipline of this nature is handled through the student conduct office, led by Mike Young, associate vice president for Student Affairs.
Young said the disciplinary action will depend on multiple factors, one being whether a group or individual committed the crime.
“If you are looking at the range of things that could happen [as a disciplinary action], a student could be placed on probation,” he said. “They could have to pay restitution depending on the seriousness of vandalism and the type of vandalism.”
He said the worse case scenario is suspension or expulsion but is unlikely unless the perpetrator is a repeat offender.
Michael Mann, senior from Springfield, Kentucky, and president of Sigma Pi, said he received a phone call around 8 a.m. Wednesday from a fraternity brother saying, “It looked like our float blew up.”
Sigma Pi and Kappa Delta partnered on the Homecoming float this year. Sarah Kelley, junior from Chicago, and president of KD, said significant damage was done to the float, and provided no further comment.
“In my head, I thought, ‘OK, it’s probably not destroyed, somebody probably just tore down a board or something…not a big deal,” Mann said.
When he arrived to the farm where the float is being stored, he said he took a deep breath before approaching to witness the damage for the first time. He said it looked like the float had been kicked and boards were pushed in. The chicken wire where pomp was applied was torn down and there were boot marks on the paintings the KD sisters did.
“I was trying to be a leader the best that I could so I stayed calm,” he said. “Deep down it aggravates me, of course, but I stayed calm for them and said, ‘OK, let’s get to work.’”
Colin Alexander, senior from Crofton, Kentucky, and Homecoming Committee chairman for Sigma Pi, said it seemed like a group did the damage to the float.
“Nothing else in the building was touched,” Alexander said. “They were just there solely to destroy the float.”
Alexander said the barn where the trailer was being stored, on university property, had been unlocked and the barn manager said they wouldn’t need a key.
Sigma Pi and KD members said they have a game plan to move forward by purchasing new supplies and repairing the damage to finish the float by Saturday morning.
“We made the decision with Kappa Delta that we were going to pursue this and keep going and get it fixed,” Mann said. “We may have some sleepless nights, but we will definitely have it in the parade.”
Sigma Pi were awarded best float in 2009 and 2015. Mann said they typically put a float in the parade every year and have never had an issue with vandalism in the past.
Mann said Public Safety, managers in the Agriculture Department, Sigma Pi brothers and KD sisters have been working together to be ready for the parade.
“Everyone has been helpful,” he said. “You can’t ask for more than that.”