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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Model U.N. members give home illegal send-off

    Members of the Arizona Model United Nations left their handprints in blue paint on the porch of their former house after they were told it was to be demolished.
    Members of the Arizona Model United Nations left their handprints in blue paint on the porch of their former house after they were told it was to be demolished.

    A group of students in Arizona Model United Nations vandalized a building that had housed the club for 12 years, after they were told the building was slated for demolition.

    After criminal damage to the Arizona Model United Nations house, 404 N. Fremont Ave., was reported to police Oct. 1, the University of Arizona Police Department met with UA space planning manager Jose Sprigg.

    Sprigg told officers the club was sent a letter letting them know the building would be demolished and that they needed to remove their property from the building.

    “”The memo said that the UA was going to demolish the building because it was underutilized by us,”” said Christina Jelly, secretary general of Arizona Model United Nations and a senior majoring in philosophy and biochemistry. (Full disclosure: Christina Jelly is an Arizona Daily Wildcat opinions columnist.)

    The UA Real Estate Administration sent the memo Aug. 24, telling the club to vacate by Sept. 7, but the club did not receive the memo until Aug. 27, Jelly said.

    That gave the group 11 days to remove the furniture and file cabinets with more than 46 years worth of documents, she said.

    The club’s advisor, William Dixon, head of the UA political science department, talked to the Real Estate Administration and got an extension until Sept. 30, on the basis that the group had occupied that space for the last 12 years, Jelly said.

    Twelve to 15 members of AMUN went to the building Sept. 28 to pack up boxes and move the possessions out of the house, according to police reports. It was that night the vandalism occurred.

    The students opened a can of blue paint and splashed its contents on the outside and inside walls. They wrote on and painted their handprints on the walls, made holes in the kitchen door and in the wall, and painted the words “”AMUN 4 Life”” on the windowsill, according to reports.

    “”We were operating under the mindset that the building would be immediately demolished,”” Jelly said. “”We weren’t doing it out of spite. We were done cleaning and decided to have some fun.

    “”Preserving the integrity of the wall was not of importance,”” she added.

    “”They were immature,”” said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD public information officer. “”They are college-aged students, and they should have had some discretion, but they didn’t.””

    “”No matter what the property is slated for, it still has value,”” he added. “”It was up to the university to determine what damage would be done to the building.

    “”For the students to vandalize a building they did not lawfully own is against state law,”” he said.

    Looking back, Jelly said, “”the fun was stupid on our part.””

    “”I should have stopped it,”” she said. “”It was harmless fun, but that doesn’t justify the actions.””

    Jeremy Norden-Paul, a political science senior and club member of the club who participated in the vandalism, agreed.

    “”Even responsible people make irresponsible decisions,”” he said.

    Since the incident, the group has worked to remedy the damage.

    “”We got together last weekend to paint the outside of the house to try to clean up the house,”” Norden-Paul said.

    Mejia said it is up to the university whether the club members would be prosecuted.

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