Police seek vaccine vandals


Senior Reporter and Editor in Chief

OUPD is actively pursuing leads for a series of graffiti markings found on campus.

According to OUPD Capt. Mark Gordon, one set of graffiti was found on Sept. 5 and another on Oct. 3.


The graffiti was found on the sidewalk between the Oakland Center and Varner Hall, on portable toilets by Meadowbrook festival during the Brooksie Way run, outside the north entrance of the OC and on the sports dome. All of the graffiti has since been cleaned up.


“It’s a consistent message with a consistent theme and it’s being placed in various areas,” said OU police chief Sam Lucido.


While OUPD did not release the report for the ongoing investigation, or the wording of the graffiti messages, they were visible to almost anybody who has been to campus this semester. Some of the graffiti, including the most recent on the sidewalk between the OC and Varner, read “vaccine = genocide,” possibly a reference to the new H1N1 vaccine.


Flyers, which were not approved by the Center for Student Activities, have also been found in various locations on campus referencing vaccine data cited on various websites as well as a campaign to stop “what will be the ‘Greatest act of Genocide the Earth has ever Seen'” by a mass faxing of the document. It is unknown at this time if the flyer is related to the graffiti.


Interim director for OU’s Graham Health Center, Nancy Jansen, said movements opposing vaccinations are nothing new. For instance, some have suspected that autism was connected with vaccinations, but the Centers for Disease Control says there is no link between the two. She also said the swine flu vaccination in the 70s caused controversy. Since finding one of the flyers on campus, and seeing the graffiti, Jansen’s office has been working to get reliable information out to the public.


“There’s misinformation about vaccines out there. People take information off the Internet, not paying attention to what the source is,” she said.


In a letter to her friends and family, Graham Health Center employee Kathrine R. Kranz, a physician’s assistant, repeated the sentiment.


“Put all information into perspective. You wouldn’t take medical advice from a mechanic, why would you determine whether or not to be vaccinated based on someone’s homemade YouTube video? Please educate yourself,” Kranz said in the letter.


Kathy Forzley, a health officer for the Oakland County Health Department, said that the H1N1 vaccine has been tested, and as with any vaccine, it’s risk versus benefit.


“I believe that everyone has to look at it for themselves,” Forzley said. “If I was a part of the target population, I would definitely consider it.”


The groups at high risk for catching H1N1 include children, pregnant women, young adults, and adults with pre-existing medical conditions. Forzley suggests that everyone considering getting the vaccine or having concerns about it should talk with their doctor.


Lucido said he understands that somebody is attempting to put out a political message, but doing it with grafitti is not the way to go about it.


“It is totally inappropriate. In fact it’s criminal,” Lucido said. “It’s defacing the university.” He estimates that the damages are well over $1,000, including the cost of clean up and said the suspect could be charged with a felony.


John Barth, manager of custodial and grounds, said that they have been called out to pressure wash some of the sidewalks off where the graffiti has appeared.


“We think they took their time,” Barth said. He also said that the markings were found all over campus.

Barth said they couldn’t be sure if the taggers will strike again, so they’re stocking up on paint remover just in case.


Anybody with information that could help OUPD’s investigation is urged to call (248) 370-3331.