Student suspect vandalizes smoke stack in protest of proposed campus tobacco ban

A passerby looks up at the K-State power plant smokestack, which those protesting the proposed campus smoking ban painted to look like a giant cigarette, as it churns out smoke on March 31, 2016. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The smoke stack on campus was vandalized Thursday in protest of the recent campuswide tobacco ban proposal. The perpetrator of this crime graffitied the smoke stack to look like a cigarette.

Upon an extensive search of the crime scene, officers from the K-State Police Department recovered an orange sticky note attached to the very top of the smoke stack.

“Looks like you’re the butt of this joke,” the note read.

Using handwriting analysis, investigators were able to identify a single suspect, a 5-foot 1-inch student in animal sciences and industry, who, according to officials, is currently “at large and on the lam.”

Reggie Maslow, self-proclaimed professor of philosophy and amateur horticulturist, was found by police when they arrived at the crime scene, meditating at the base of the smoke stack. Maslow said he was questioned by investigators but “knows not of the vandalism of which they speak.”

“It’s art, man,” Maslow said. “It’s an expression of true love.”

Andrew Moeller, detective with the campus police, said authorities have “literally no idea” how the suspect managed to graffiti the entire smoke stack.

“This is a crime against the university,” Moeller said. “It’s a crime against the K-State family. It’s a crime against Bill Snyder. But it’s art, man.”

Members of the Student Governing Association were also questioned by authorities to help identify the suspect’s motives, according to campus police.

The SGA voted in February to recommend the campuswide tobacco ban to K-State President Kirk Schulz.

Andy Hurtig, senior in accounting and student body president, said if the ban were to take effect, fines would not be used for enforcement. As a tobacco-free campus, it’s more of an issue of respect.

“Obviously, understanding that there will be people who don’t comply, the best way that we can respond to that is simply tapping them on the shoulder and asking, ‘Hey, we’re a tobacco-free campus, can you please not do that? Thank you,’” Hurtig said. “Most of the time, hopefully they’ll comply.”

In an email to the Collegian, the police’s sole suspect in this crime, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, admitted to graffitiing the smoke stack.

“I didn’t kill the ban in the courtyard with a lead pipe,” the suspect said in the email. “I killed the ban on the smoke stack with a can of spray paint.”

Disclaimer: This article is an April Fools’ joke and is not meant to be taken seriously.

Hey there! I'm Danielle Cook. I'm currently a freshman in journalism and mass communications. I live for telling true stories, so I hope to be doing it for the rest of my life. Luckily, I also live for late nights and early mornings – as long as there's coffee and I'm in good company.