Holden Hall Vandalized Ahead of Scheduled Summer Demolition

The offices of the Latino Student Union (LSU) and the Pitzer Student Senate were left vandalized the night of April 16, apparently as part of a student-led demonstration against the demolition of Holden Hall at Pitzer College.

“The vandals are believed to be Pitzer students,” wrote Josue Pasillas PZ ’17, the first-year representative for the Pitzer Student Senate and an LSU member, in an email to TSL.

Pasillas wrote that from what he had read on the walls, it seems that some of the graffiti, which included messages such as “Keep Holden” and “Occupy Holden,” was done by a group of students to express their views against the demolition of the building.

Holden Hall, home to offices and meeting spaces for student organizations, is set to be demolished this summer, and another structure will be built in its place, according to Pitzer Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Carlisle. Since the announcement about the demolition of the building in March, students have protested the decision to build another structure in its place. Some have suggested replacing the building with a farm. 

Other graffiti in the building appears to just be art, according to Pasillas. 

“The rest of the graffiti was done by people
expressing their artistic creativity where they shouldn’t have,” Pasillas wrote. “And, if one wants to create
art, the free wall is the place to do it without permission.” 

LSU Coordinator Alba Cobian PZ ’14 expressed confusion regarding the vandalism, noting that the graffiti’s message is not entirely clear.

“If you’re going to try save a space, why would you try to incur more costs for the people trying to maintain it?” she said. “I think that’s a very inappropriate way to try to maintain a space.”

Although the members of the LSU and the Student Senate do not think that the graffiti was attacking any specific person or
organization, the vandalism to their meeting spaces extended beyond graffiti on the walls, Cobian said.

“Our shirts that say ‘Rockabilly Festival’ were on the
floor, and we didn’t know if any were taken … and we had candles on the table
that were just broken,” she said. “The room was a mess, and there was more of
the smell of spray paint, and it smelled like cigarette smoke—it was just kind
of a nasty place to be in.” 

The LSU, which previously had an office in the Gold Student Center (GSC), moved to Holden Hall at the beginning of this school year when the GSC began major construction work. Before the April 16 incident, there were two other
instances of intrusion in the same meeting space. 

The first time, intruders ate food in the
room that was supposed to be used for other events. The second time, intruders graffitied the walls. 

By the vandalism on April 16, “it was obvious people
were in there just messing with [the LSU’s] things, which is not cool,” Cobian said. 

Cobian said that a few of the students involved in
the vandalism have already come forward and said that they did not know that LSU’s meetings were held in that room. Another student volunteered to paint the
walls again after admitting to participating in the vandalism.

However, both Cobian and Pasillas agreed that the destruction
of items very meaningful to the organizations was far more disrespectful and
upsetting than the graffiti itself. 

graffiti] was not what bothered us most,” Cobian said. “What really bothered us was the
invasion of space and how they treated our things.”

According to an email to the Pitzer student body sent Thursday morning from Carlisle, Holden Hall has been scheduled for demolition for over 10 years because of long-term strategy plans and concerns about seismic safety.

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