Sometimes college students can be creative in their pranks. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they are so clever that even the faculty laughs along.
Stealing the bust of Tolstoy was not one of these pranks.
Sculptor Gregory Pototsky generously donated the bust of Leo Tolstoy to the University. It was a gift from the sculptor to signify AU’s commitment to strengthening American-Russian relations.
Although this may not be the most notable aspect of campus to many students, there will be repercussions of this theft.
The vandalism of the Tolstoy bust makes the entire AU community look disrespectful and immature. There is a line between being funny or political and vandalizing artwork. Public art is a great addition to the campus community, and incidents such as this will deter future artists from donating to AU.
But unnecessary vandalism goes a step further at AU. With the new budget, more of AU’s revenue will come from philanthropic sources. We are becoming more dependant on alumni donations. Most alumni donations come with a plaque or statue commemorating their donation.
If AU students give off the impression that their donations will be vandalized, it will significantly deter future donations.
Our money is on the line here. We have one of the smallest endowments in the country, so we should not jeopardize any philanthropy money for petty crime.
It should also concern students that the bust was able to be stolen so easily. It could not have been quick or simple to get the bust off of the concrete and carry it away from campus. Public Safety should be keeping a close enough watch on our campus that they would notice an entire statue being destroyed.
Campus security has been a growing concern over the year, and this incident should not make anyone feel any safer.
Ultimately, those who committed this vandalism need to grow up. The majority of AU students appreciate the donations and art that’s displayed on campus. Most AU students want alumni and fascinating members of the worldwide community to contribute to our campus in any way possible. This event has the potential to severely hurt the entire AU community because of a few, which is unfair.
The vandalism was cruel and petty. AU students are better than this, and we all need to show it. ≠ E