Circle K President Charlie Goelz doesn’t feel his organization is controversial.
Who could possibly have a problem with community service?
Yet the volunteer group has been the target of a string of vandalism on campus lately.
In the past 10 months, five of Circle K’s Diag boards have been vandalized, most recently on Sept 1. The previous three incidents occurred during the summer, and the first last November.
On July 13 and July 29, respectively, two of the group’s Diag boards were reported stolen by the Student Organization Resource Center.
A Diag board was found in some bushes Aug. 8, and after the Sept 1 incident, the missing board was found near the Michigan Union.
Circle K notified the Department of Public Safety of the thefts after the July 29 incident.
Goelz, an LSA senior, said the vandalism frustrates the group since no other organization has had their signs torn down as often as Circle K’s.
But the group doesn’t know why.
“SORC told us that it’s not abnormal to have one banner ripped down just because vandalism happens,” he said. “I do know other organizations that this has happened to recently. But it is very abnormal to have it happen to one group four different times and from what I know, they were in different locations, as well.”
After the first vandalism incident last November, Goelz said Circle K thought it was an isolated incident. Since then, he said, the group has become increasingly puzzled by the phenomenon.
“We’re not a controversial organization,” he said. “We’re an organization that tries to remain nonpartisan, and we don’t cause a lot of drama.”
Many of Circle K’s service projects deal with hunger and environmental issues, but that certainly doesn’t make them unique on campus, he said.
LSA junior Natalie Kittikul, Circle K’s associate secretary, has been in charge of organizing the repainting of the Diag boards and also found the two that were torn down.
She said she was trying to keep an optimistic spin on the whole situation.
“I felt bad for all the members having to repaint, but it did bring a lot of our members together,” she said. “It’s a fun activity, and most of the people that were painting had the chance to see another aspect of what our organization is about.”
Circle K repainted the stolen Diag boards. Goelz said each one took approximately five to six hours to paint.
“It’s a monetary loss,” he said. “We also put a lot of time and effort into doing this. A lot of the members help out and its really hurtful for them to see their work just ripped down.”
In addition to the money lost and hurt feelings, Goelz said there have also been other psychological effects on members.
“It’s caused a kind of obsession,” he said. “There was a false alarm. The SORC e-mailed us telling us that our Diag board was stolen again, so we went out and ran around looking for it. But it turned out it wasn’t stolen. It’s just getting into everyone’s head.”
Goelz said though it has been affecting the group emotionally, members hope the incidents aren’t a demonstration against the organization’s goals.
“It’s really hurting our morale, and we’re confused as to why someone would be targeting us,” he said. “We think what we’re doing is good so we hope it’s not a reflection on our organization.”
Kittikul said she tries to walk past the group’s Diag boards as often as she can to make sure they’re still there.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again, but you never know,” she said. “We didn’t think it would happen again when the school year started, but it did.”