BREAKING: Second Georgetown statue vandalized with paint

The Jan Karski statue near White Gravenor, pre-vandalism

At 8:07, an email from Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and the Office of Student Affairs notified Georgetown students and faculty that a second statue on Georgetown’s campus had been vandalized.

The statue of former Georgetown professor Jan Karski, a World War II Polish war hero who reported on the existence of concentration camps to the Allies during the war, “symbolizes many of the values central to our community,” Olson writes. It was found painted a little more than a week after the statue of the Virgin Mary was found with her face painted black on Copley Lawn. The late professor Karski taught at Georgetown for nearly 40 years. He died in 2000.

According to the email, Facilities has already removed most of the paint from the statue.

As is the case with the defacement of the Mary statue, the Department of Public Safety is investigating, but “[does] not know the motivation of the person or persons who painted the statue, nor whether or not they are members of the University community.” Any connection to the vandalism of the Mary statue is also unclear.

Full text of the email after the jump.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Today we were notified that the Copley Lawn statue of former professor Jan Karski was vandalized with paint.  The statue remembers a scholar, teacher and human rights advocate who was part of our community for 40 years.  As you may know, Professor Karski risked his life escaping communist Poland during World War II and went on to provide information to the Allied powers about the Holocaust.  This statue symbolizes many of the values central to our community, including commitments to academic excellence, interreligious understanding and justice and human rights.

We write today to underscore that acts of vandalism and intolerance such as this have no place in our campus community and to encourage that anyone who may have information related to this incident please contact the Department of Public Safety at (202) 687-4343.  While we do not know the motivation of the person or persons who painted the statue, nor whether or not they are members of the University community, we recognize the importance of statues and sacred spaces on campus and hope that all such symbols and places are appropriately respected.

Despite today’s inclement weather, the Office of Facilities Management has worked promptly to remove most of the paint and restore the statue to its proper state.  As always, the chaplains of Campus Ministry are available to speak with any concerned persons.


Todd A. Olson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry

Photo from the School of Foreign Service

13 Comments on “BREAKING: Second Georgetown statue vandalized with paint

  1. Man, I love that statue.

    Stop it. Just stop it.

  2. This is a real shame, although I gotta admit I didn’t know anything about Jan Karski before this incident. Seems like a pretty amazing guy though!

  3. Maybe instead of impotently pleading with students to stop vandalizing campus sculptures, Olson should simply explain that any student caught doing so will be summarily expelled.

    A little less time cracking down on beer pong, a little more time cracking down on grossly disrespectful destruction of art, please.

    The Virgin Mary and a Holocaust hero, defaced. Hoya Saxa.

  4. I genuinely hope that these crimes aren’t being committed by Georgetown students. The sad thing is that it’s probably nearly impossible to find out who did it.

  5. Too bad DPS has absolutely no surveillance capabilities!!!

  6. Jan Karski was a huge badass, which makes this vandalism all the more infuriating. In World War II, he snuck into a concentration camp dressed as a guard to check it out.

  7. DPS actually has a whole room tucked away in its offices with a bunch of monitors for a lot of places around campus. There are cameras all over the place, at least in theory, recording all the time.

    That’s why I never understand why we can’t solve any of the actual crimes on this campus (assaults, vandalism, bike thefts, etc) but they sure do know how to break up a good party when one of the neighbors (who willingly moved into a neighborhood that has been home to a major university since the dawn of the republic) gets cranky.

  8. fair point, DPS.

    Now that I think about it, can anyone remember an incident where DPS actually caught someone and detained them for arrest – other than breaking up parties?

    I just always have a picture of DPS officers running after a bike thief/criminal then giving up because they were out of breath or because they didnt really care…this made up scenario aside, isn’t DPS just a crime deterrent?

  9. umm…ok…
    they caught one guy and let two others go. I wouldnt say thats exactly a feather in their cap.

  10. Pingback: Vox Populi » BREAKING: Statue of Virgin Mary vandalized a second time

  11. Pingback: Vox Populi » Easter miracle? DPS apprehends vandalism suspect

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