Beta Bridge tribute to Casey Schulman vandalized
Unknown individuals critique long-standing memorial paint
An anonymous vandal took to Beta Bridge’s dedication of deceased fourth-year College student Casey Schulman Monday, scrawling in black spray paint: “If she weren’t white, wealthy, popular, etc … would this still be here?” The memorial had been in place for more than a month, following Schulman’s December 1 death in a recreational boating accident while on Semester at Sea.
The bridge was painted white a few hours later, and by the end of the day it read: “Love everybody, UVA is for lovers, We love you Casey.”
Associate Dean of Students Laurie Casteen said the act was a disappointing show of free speech. “[Beta Bridge is] a public forum for all students to use for a variety of things they wish to share [but] it’s important for students to respect what is put there,” Casteen said.
The blog “Beta Bridge Almost Daily” recorded the incident, and in the hours following the incident, reactions on Twitter were largely negative.
“Glad Beta Bridge has already been repainted. Whoever did that should be embarrassed #uncalledfor,” fourth-year Education student Rachel Buckner wrote.
Casteen said while she respected everyone’s right to free speech, she regretted the expression came at the cost of respect toward Schulman. “[The issue] might have been raised in a more responsible way,” she said.
Casteen said the University will not attempt to identify or punish the vandal, but instead will focus on promoting an open, respectful dialogue on grounds. “There are better ways to be heard,” she said.