Rivals tag Whig Hall with graffiti
Whig Hall was vandalized with graffiti Sunday night in an apparent attempt by Rutgers students to revive the school's once-contentious rivalry with Princeton.
Public Safety officers discovered the writing on the western wall of the 113-year-old home to the University's debating society around midnight during a routine campus patrol.
Scribbled in bright red spray paint, the message read, "WE WANT A GAME 1869 RUTGERS BB2," a reference to Rutgers' victory over Princeton in the first-ever intercollegiate football game.
Facilities department workers cleaned the graffiti late Monday afternoon.
University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt '96 said that Public Safety spotted the marks on Whig Hall before noticing students on Cannon Green in front of the building.
The students, who Cliatt identified as Princetonians, were near the Revolutionary War cannon that has baited the Rutgers-Princeton rivalry for more than 150 years.
Cliatt said the officers "encountered students respraying the cannon black ... to cover over the red sprayed there by Rutgers." The students said they had not witnessed anyone defacing Whig Hall or the cannon, and Public Safety could find no other witnesses.
She added that Public Safety's investigation is ongoing, though the incident is "very straightforward," with no known witnesses.
Whig Hall is home to the Whig-Cliosophic Society, an umbrella organization for student political groups including Princeton Model Congress and the International Relations Council.
Whig-Clio computing coordinator George Lan '09 said he notified other society officers after spying the graffiti on his way to class from his dorm room in Blair Hall. "I'm surprised other people didn't notice it earlier," he said, "since I was shocked to see it at 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon."
Whig-Clio co-president Aaron Spolin '08 said that while he did not personally see the graffiti, he was "disappointed about it. Though [the message] has nothing to do with Whig-Clio, it's still upsetting to know our building was hit."
Spolin added that he thought the building was targeted because of its central location and accessibility to visitors. "Whig is the sort of building on campus that people notice ... the building was probably just obvious to people from Rutgers."
The society uses Whig Hall to host a number of student events. Clio Hall houses the graduate school's offices as well as the undergraduate admissions lobby.
According to legend, the Revolutionary War cannon was abandoned in Princeton at the end of the conflict, but was moved to New Brunswick — home of Rutgers' main campus — during the War of 1812. Over the course of a few years in the 1840s, local militia and Princeton students brought the cannon back to Princeton, eventually burying it in the center of the grassy area in front of Whig and Clio and behind Nassau Hall.
Though Rutgers students occasionally succeed in painting the cannon red, Princeton students — like those caught by Public Safety on Sunday — typically repaint it black, with orange numbers for the current senior class.
Correction appendedThe original version of this story incorrectly reported that Whig Hall is owned by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society. In fact, the building is owned by the University.
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