CXO’s apartment vandalism investigation ongoing, students suspended

Chatwan Mongkol and Nicole McIsaac

First-year students residing in The Commons were surprised by the vandalism targeting a senior administrator that took place near their rooms over the weekend, while some had no idea it happened.

Quinnipiac University suspended three students for allegedly vandalizing the on-campus apartment of Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett on Sunday. A formal student conduct review and investigation are underway.

A rock was thrown through a window and a note with inflammatory language was posted on the front door, according to public safety. (Chatwan Mongkol)

“Over the last several days, there were two separate incidents targeted at the administrator’s on-campus residence, including a rock thrown through a window and a note with inflammatory language posted on the front door,” wrote Tony Reyes, chief of public safety, in an email.

Julia Bogen, a first-year accounting major who lives in The Commons, said she was unaware of the situation occurring in the building until someone told her about it.

“My mom sent me the news article today, and I had no idea,” Bogen said. “I can’t believe someone would do that, I was shocked by it.”

While Bogen said what happened raised some security concerns, she trusts that the administration will make sure it won’t happen again.

Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan did not make Ellett or anyone in public safety available for an interview because the investigation is ongoing. In an attempt to obtain incident reports, Hamden Police Department said the case’s sergeant hasn’t approved and signed off for the release.

Most students The Chronicle spoke to in The Commons had no idea Ellett’s apartment was close to their dorm room. Alyssa Campo, a first-year physical therapy major, said she and her friends were wondering where the incident occurred when she received an alert about it.

“I was kind of surprised,” Campo said. “I didn’t even know it was in the same building as us.”

Once informed of the situation, Campo questioned who Ellett was and the relation he had to the university.

However, other students in the building were more aware of the situation and the impact that it has left on the community. 

Jake Patinella, a first-year undeclared computing program student who lives next door to Ellett, said his sense of security hasn’t changed because the university reported the vandalism as targeted incident.

“I think (the administration was) successful in showing how they handle serious situations,” Patinella said.

In terms of living next door to the chief experience officer, Patinella said his experience has been positive. He said Ellett gave him a tour of his apartment.

“Mr. Ellett has been nothing but friendly and kind to both me and my roommate, which was part of the reason why I was shocked that such events occurred,” Patinella said. “He seems like he wants (the) best for the students and is open for communication.”

After the incidents, President Judy Olian sent out an email to the Quinnipiac community that she was “appalled” and said that “this behavior won’t be tolerated.”

The Student Government Association (SGA) also released a statement condemning the behavior and stating that it was disheartened to learn about what happened. The SGA said it encourages “passionate debate and diverse opinion,” while calling for “increased civility amongst the campus community.”

Besides these two incidents with the chief experience officer, public safety reported three other acts of vandalism on campus since the semester began.