Destroyed computer mice, scratched tables, an information board beyond repair, vandalised chairs, graffiti in the toilets, an attempt was made in the Mindfulnest to demolish the iPad. For Wim Vuijk, team leader at the library’s front desk, every morning is a new surprise. Reports of vandalism have been increasing since October. “It’s a pattern”, Vuijk observes.

Video of pushing over the Christmas tree

“The ‘highlight’ so far is the knocking over of the three-metre-high Christmas tree”, says Jones. She still can’t believe someone did that in the beginning of December. The damage was 1300 euros. The tree was too damaged to still use, according to the rental company. “An accident, we thought at first. Until a student employee received a video forwarded in a WhatsApp group that same day. From that, it appears to be on purpose after all.” The short clip shows the text ‘hahahahah nice huib’ and in the background it shows the university library and Christmas tree.

Because of the damage and shock, it was decided to press charges. The incident could have ended very badly. “You see someone approaching. Had that person been there a few seconds earlier, the tree would have fallen on top of her”, says Vuijk, referring to the video.

Safe environment

Most vandalism takes place at night. The staff hopes that students still feel comfortable. The library is open from early morning to midnight, and was also open between Christmas and 1 January, when the rest of the university was closed. Anyone who doesn’t feel safe, or who has seen any acts of the vandalism, is welcome to come forward.

“We want to show that we are dealing with this. I assume we won’t find the guilty parties, including those from the Christmas tree”, Jones says. “We try so hard to create a pleasant atmosphere here. For this to happen is such a shame. Who does something like this? We are not used to this at the library.” Could it be a bet, the staff wonders? “If you are tough enough to push it over, be tough enough to report it”, Vuijk concludes.

Whether there will be another Christmas tree this year remains to be seen. Opinions among staff are divided.