WMU News

WMU officials step up protection of Bronco sculpture

Nov. 6, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University officials are stepping up measures to protect the newest campus landmark following its defacing early Thursday (Nov. 6) morning.

According to Robert J. Brown, director of the WMU Department of Public Safety, an assailant painted the letters "CMU" in gold on one side of the Bronco Sculpture near Read Fieldhouse and the Student Recreation Center at approximately 4:20 a.m. Because the assailant used an oil-based paint, he said the surface of the sculpture appears to be damaged, although much of the paint has been removed.

A surveillance camera trained on the artwork captured video footage of the assailant, who was wearing a gray WMU sweatshirt. Department of Public Safety officials have made still photographs of the assailant and flyers are being distributed on campus and in the community. Silent Observer is offering a $1,000 reward, as is the Department of Public Safety.

The Department of Public Safety will be patrolling the area near the sculpture round the clock throughout the weekend. In addition, earlier plans to have WMU's ROTC stand guard will continue. WMU officials already had asked the ROTC to help out, anticipating that the sculpture could be vulnerable on the weekend that WMU plays Central Michigan University in football.

Members of two student organizations sponsored by WMU's Department of Military Science, the Rifle Team and the Western Rangers, will be on duty Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8. Unarmed but equipped with radios to put them in contact with the Department of Public Safety, teams of two persons will protect the artwork in two-and-a-half-hour shifts.

The ROTC effort is part of Peace'N It Together, a student volunteer initiative to help maintain order in activities surrounding the 1 p.m. Saturday game at Waldo Stadium. Student "peace patrols" will be watching the neighborhoods near campus on Saturday night and notifying police of any incidents by cellular telephones.

The Bronco Sculpture was installed this past April. The one and a quarter life-size bronze piece is intended to serve as a focal point for Bronco spirit and pride. The 1,800-pound sculpture features a Thoroughbred in the act of jumping.

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