Vandals target piece of Berlin Wall at California college

Chapman has displayed the piece of the historic wall on campus since 1997.

A part of the Berlin Wall, on display at Chapman University, was vandalized.

Chapman University officials announced that a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the California campus was defaced. 

University spokeswoman Amy Stevens told Campus Reform that the university’s section of the wall was most likely vandalized between July 21 and July 22. Each side of the lower portion of the wall had been covered in brown paint. The paint conceals some of the original graffiti placed on the wall before its fall at the end of the Cold War, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported

“Experts from an art restoration firm will be on campus this week to assess the situation and develop a plan,” Stevens told Campus Reform

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Police sergeant Phil McMullin told Campus Reform that university police are working with the local department to identify the vandal and that they currently have some evidence to work with. Detectives have been assigned to the case, but no arrests have been made. 

“I am outraged by this senseless attempt to destroy a priceless piece of history, and heartbroken that this can happen on our own campus,” Chapman University President Daniele Struppa said in an email sent to the campus community and obtained by Campus Reform

“We are fortunate the wall was preserved at the time of installation and we are confident it can be restored without permanent damage....I encourage you to take some time to learn more about its historic significance and its history at Chapman. Let this terrible act of vandalism be turned into a time to celebrate how fortunate we are to be the home to an important piece of history.” 

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Chapman University acquired the section of the Berlin Wall in 1997, under the direction of president emeritus Jim Doti. 

The piece of the wall was placed on display in a space called Liberty Plaza, which is a key location on Chapman’s campus. Doti enlisted the help of artist Richard Turner to design appropriate surroundings for the fragment, which was covered in an anti-graffiti coating intended to preserve the original markup. 

“What has made our presentation of the Berlin wall so special is what Richard Turner made possible by putting it into that artistic context that gave it meaning not only as a symbol of totalitarianism, but connecting it with this idea of freedom,” Doti commented at the time. “It’s not just a piece of art—it’s become something that evokes historical memory.”

Police are seeking information about the vandalism. 

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