Fence vandals release statement of apology

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On April 7, student government, represented by Vice President for Organizations Aaron Gross and Student Body Vice President Kate Smith, filed a formal complaint against six students who were accused of vandalizing the Fence in March. The complaint alleged that each of the six students was responsible for two charges: destruction of university property and conduct unbecoming a Carnegie Mellon student.

As part of the outcome of a mediation between the students and student government, the students charged agreed to write a statement about the incident that would appear in The Tartan.
The following statement from the six students charged appears verbatim and has not been edited by student government or The Tartan. It reflects only the opinions of the students charged. For legal and privacy reasons, the six students are not identified by name.

First and foremost, we would like to express our regret for this incident and apologize unconditionally to the university community. We now understand what a sensitive issue this is, and in turn what a thoughtless act it was. In hindsight, we agree that what we did was insensitive, seeing as the Carnegie Mellon community takes much pride in the Fence, and it is one of, if not the most prominent symbol on campus. Having seen the negative impact it had on the community, we feel remorse.

We did not comprehend the emotional ties in connection with the Fence or that it would offend so many so deeply, and we never had any intention of offending those who were or still are offended. We understand now that, most importantly, we must think before we act, respect other people’s feelings, and be much more responsible. The consequent uproar within the School of Art and the larger CMU community should have been anticipated by us, and we take full responsibility for our actions.

Second, we hope that after we have a chance to describe what happened, the university community will agree that, despite appearances, there was an utter lack of malicious intent in what we did to the Fence. The act began entirely spontaneously out of curiosity, and that led to a progression of events that got out of hand. We believe it may have been generally misconstrued in this sense, for this was not a premeditated act. It was merely spurred by curiosity and an interest in the Fence, and was most certainly not intended to be an attack or aggressive act against the university, community, or symbol of the institution. We now understand how it may have been perceived that way, for the Leatherman and hacksaw utilized have a very destructive connotation. However, our flawed thought process in introducing these tools was an attempt to try to open up layers of paint cleanly. Many believe the tools were used to try to vandalize and destroy the Fence; they were not.

Having said this, we would now seek proper permission prior to engaging in contact with any student or campus property.