Six on-campus locations were tagged with pro-Texas A&M graffiti over the weekend — the latest in a string of Aggie-related graffiti incidents dating back to 2011, according to police officials.
University Operations spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said a UT staff member reported the graffiti to UTPD around 4:45 a.m. Sunday. The graffiti included various promotional A&M phrases and slogans, such as “Gig em’ Aggies” and “Saw ‘Em Off.” Officers checked the campus for suspects and other signs of criminal activity, but did not find anything. Facilities Services crews began to remove the graffiti the following morning.
According to a list provided by UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey, the east and north walls of the Performing Arts Center, west side of the LBJ Library, east side of the Thompson Conference Center and west side of the E. William Doty Fine Arts Building were vandalized. Tony Smith’s 1965 sculpture “Amaryllis” — situated outside the fine arts building — was also tagged.
Weldon said the Texas Memorial Museum statue and a public art installation on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art were also damaged.
Despite the fact that Texas A&M left the Big 12 football conference in 2011, and no longer plays UT in an annual game, incidents of Aggie-related graffiti have persisted every October for the last two years.
On Oct. 23, 2011, unknown perpetrators tagged the north-side wall of the Weaver Power Plant Annex and the bridge connecting the Winship Drama Building to San Jacinto Boulevard. In addition, crosshairs were sprayed on an east-side wall of the drama building, and a phallic depiction was painted next to Donald Lipski’s East Mall monument “The West.”
Prominent UT landmarks were also defaced in October 2012. They included the wall perimeter of the UT Tower, the windows of the Flawn Academic Center and the statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson in front of the Tower. Lipski’s sculpture was tagged for the second time.
UTPD Capt. Julie Gillespie said A&M graffiti is nothing new, especially around football season. Although the rivalry is over, Gillespie said UTPD will treat these incidents as a trend moving forward and will continue to work closely with A&M’s police department to catch the vandals.
“We work very closely with the Texas A&M police department,” Gillespie said. “We’ll send all of our reports to A&M, and hopefully they can yield a result over there.”
Gillespie said tagging buildings or monuments with graffiti is a state jail felony. According to the police report, the damage estimate for Sunday’s vandalism is roughly $525.
Gillespie said prior to every A&M-UT football game in years past, UTPD would initiate an “Aggie Watch” to monitor for football-fueled pranks.
The department has only issued one citation for criminal mischief related to A&M graffiti since 2011, Gillespie said. A Texas A&M student was cited on April 14 for scrawling A&M-related graffiti around the campus in chalk. According to a police report from the incident, the student allegedly committed the vandalism as part of a scavenger hunt organized by the Texas A&M chapter of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity.