UPDATE, Monday, June 13:
Aileen Yoo, a public information officer for Cal Poly Humboldt, sent the Outpost the following statement:
UPD is actively investigating these incidents as repeated acts of vandalism. They have increased patrols and we will pursue the maximum penalty when the people responsible for the vandalism are caught. Facilities Management is looking into using metal lettering instead of acrylic and changing the installation process to better deter vandalism.Unfortunately, signage is expensive and it’s costing the University thousands–nearly $16,000–to cover the amount of stolen lettering, replacement letters, and labor. If we need to change all the signs to metal letters, it will cost the University at least an additional $12,000.
Over the last week or so, various letters have gone missing from the Cal Poly Humboldt signs located at several different campus entrances and exactly why or how this has been happening is still a mystery.
Several concerned and confused community members have reached out to LoCO or taken the issue to social media, wondering what the reason behind these missing letters may be. Particularly confusing is the seeming randomness of the letters that are gone, leaving behind word jumbles that don’t seem to spell anything — at least, nothing that we can figure out.
In the most recent photos the Outpost has seen, taken by Bob Doran on Wednesday and Thursday, one of the main entrance gates on LK Wood and 14th Street is missing the letters H, M, B, D and T, leaving the sign to read “CAL POLY U OL.” The sign on the west side of 14th and B Streets is missing the letters A, L, P, L, H, M and T, and now reads “COY U BOLD.” The sign on LK Wood and Sunset Ave. is only missing the U and M from the “HUMBOLDT.”
Doran also informs the Outpost that as of Friday morning, another letter has gone missing – the “C” from the main gate on LK Wood.
It seems that the letter removal has been a reoccurring issue. After at least one batch of letters had gone missing, the signs had been fully repaired with all letters replaced, and now many of the letters are missing again.
The Outpost has many questions, as you readers surely do too. Are the letters being repeatedly stolen by the same person or persons? And why? Is this just a pointless act of vandalism? Or is it commentary on the school’s recent transition from HSU to Cal Poly Humboldt? Why had this not been an issue when the signs still read “Humboldt State University”? Are these new letters way too easy to remove? And how much is it costing the school to keep replacing them?
Reached by the Outpost this afternoon, the University was not able to offer much help. Public Information Officer Aileen Yoo said that she and other information center staff will search for the answers to these questions and most likely get back to us on Monday. We will update when we know more.
Until then, be on the lookout for a bunch of giant metal letters. We can only hope that they will turn up somewhere soon, spelling out some sort of hilarious or brilliant message that makes everything clear.