Club heartbroken after piano in Student Center vandalized

Right to left, GGB President Ashleigh Pagano and Secretary Nicole Maley stand with the vandalized piano. They had been restoring it for the past two semesters. (Abby Wojcik/The Griffin)

Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, the piano on the second floor of the Student Center was vandalized by an unknown person. The piano was in process of being renovated by Griffins Giving Back (GGB), a club of students with a mission to give back to the Buffalo community, the student body and the environment. Their project to restore and decorate the piano was cut short by someone’s blatant disrespect of their mission. 

In addition to Grupp in Regis, there are several club rooms on the second floor of the Student Center, as well as a lounge space with tables, chairs and a piano. GGB wanted to paint the piano to create a more fun, welcoming atmosphere for students. 

“Since we’ve been painting it, more people have been up here playing it,” Nicole Maley, Secretary of GGB said. “We poured a lot of work and club budget money into this piano.”

Over Labor Day weekend of the fall 2019 semester, the GGB e-board was in their club room (across from the piano) on Saturday evening and left the piano in its normal condition. On Monday morning, a fellow student informed them that there were black scribbles on the piano.

Griffins Giving Back had no idea what the black scribbles were, but when they went to check on the piano they’d been working on for two semesters, they saw lines of black marker on almost every surface of the piano. They were horrified.

“It was very disappointing and aggravating to know that we worked so hard to give our student body something colorful and fun and comforting, to know that one of them blatantly disrespected and destroyed it,” club president Ashleigh Pagano commented.

Upon first glance these black scribbles seem harmless. However, after examining the damage they caused, it is clear that these marks were intentionally made and with malicious intent. Almost every surface of the piano — including each individual key — has these marks, making the repair process extremely difficult and time consuming.

In addition to the scribbles, the surface of one of the piano keys was broken off and carefully placed on top of the piano, as if to let the club know it was ripped off. With only a few finishing touches left to complete, this vandalism puts the club back at the beginning stages of their project.

“It’s an ugly, spiteful thing to do,” Maley stated. “Everytime we’re up here, I just look at it and I’m heartbroken.”

GGB filed a report with Public Safety and talked to Student Life about the incident. According to Public Safety, there are no cameras on the second floor of the Student Center because cameras are typically placed in entry ways rather than general student spaces.

While the investigation continues, GGB intends to keep working on the piano to undo the damage. They are looking into safe ways to remove the marker without having to reprime and paint the entire piano, but most likely they will have to start over on most of the surfaces. When it’s finished, Student Life intends to provide a plaque for display with the piano that will establish that it was painted by GGB and ask that everyone is respectful of their work.

If anyone has any information about this incident, they can make a confidential report to Rich Kennedy or Mark Piatkowski in Student Life.

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