Republican group says sculpture vandalized

Photo provided by MTU College Republicans The all-nighter entry by the Michigan Technological University’s College Republicans is seen here prior to an act of vandalism reported by the group Thursday morning.

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University is investigating a report made by Tech’s chapter of College Republicans of vandalism to its Winter Carnival snow statue shortly after its completion Thursday morning.

Jared Ottman, president of the chapter, said video showed a group of people appearing to vandalize the statue Thursday morning, about an hour after the College Republicans finished.

Ottman said the group obtained a video from someone in an adjacent dorm who recorded the incident from a window.

He said the group is withholding the video until Tech completes its investigation. Ottman did not explain why the release was being delayed by the investigation.

Tech’s Office of Academic and Community Conduct is investigating the incident, said Director Rob Bishop. He said he could not comment on a possible punishment, as it depends on the nature of the circumstances.

“We’re just taking information as it comes,” he said. “We have a video right now. We’re trying to take a look at that and see what tips come forward.”

The group’s all-nighter competition statue included a table bearing the words “Change My Mind.”

“It was supposed to be a table, and they jumped on the table and smashed that, and they also punched holes into where we had ‘College Republicans’ on a snow bank,” Ottman said.

The “Change My Mind” booth references a meme originating with conservative podcaster Steven Crowder, who set up a booth outside Texas Christian University in 2018 with a sign saying “Male privilege is a myth, change my mind.”

Ottman isn’t sure if the alleged vandalism was politically motivated. Regardless, he said, the alleged incident is intolerable.

“We’re disappointed something we had fun and worked hard on was destroyed, and we look forward to the healing process over the next few weeks,” he said.

The sculpture was located next to the parking lot at Wadsworth Hall, and by Friday afternoon, it was removed.