Police at Southern Polytechnic State University Wednesday were trying to determine whether students unhappy about the recently announced merger of SPSU and Kennesaw State University toppled an important campus landmark overnight.
The 10-foot diameter stainless steel globe outside the Joe Mack Wilson Student Center was knocked off its base and onto its side around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Jim Cooper, assistant vice president of university communications.
The globe, which was installed in 1996, is a “very important university landmark,” Cooper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s meant to represent the international component of our campus.”
Campus police “are investigating to see if this was an accident or something else,” Cooper said.
The globe, which is mounted on a pedestal in a courtyard outside the student center, was the site of a student rally Monday protesting the recently-announced merger with Kennesaw State, and the concrete surrounding the globe – as well as the globe itself — is marked with slogans protesting the merger.
“Certainly, the students are passionate right now, but all indications are that they’ve been peaceful and respectful,” he said. “I think President [Lisa] Rossbacher’s going to send out a communication reminding people of our values, one of which is respect.”
Cooper said there is no video surveillance of the area, but campus police are “looking for witnesses or anyone who may have seen anything happen.”
“It’s sad, but we’re going to get it back up as quickly as we can and restore this important university monument,” Cooper said.
John Ellison, a sophomore computer science major, said emotions remain high over the merger, and a fellow student was climbing onto the globe to write on it Tuesday night when it “just fell over.”
Ellison said he’s lost sleep every night since the merger was announced last week.
“I stay awake at night thinking of ways I can change the Board of Regents’ opinion,” he said.