On the morning of April 18, a sign promoting UC Davis Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) was found vandalized with the slur “I have PTSD.” PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The sign, which encourages students to join the Davis program, is supposed to be brought in each evening and reposted the next morning. This was not done so on the night of April 17, according to Joe Miller, senior English major and member of ROTC, who found the sign that morning while waiting for class in the ROTC department.
“I was really disappointed,” Miller said. “I expect more out of the student body, especially considering the sensitive nature of PTSD, and the vandalism to other smaller organizations and groups in the past.”
In order to keep the issue to a minimum, the sign has been removed and will be reposted once the graffiti is taken off.
Miller said that this is not the first time the program has experienced vandalism in the last year. Nonetheless, most members were surprised.
“Students should bear in mind that there are fellow classmates and faculty who have served in the military, been deployed and been in combat,” he said. “To joke about PTSD is tragic because it destroys peoples’ lives and their families.”
Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, works with the community when events of vandalism occur on campus. He was unavailable for comment.
“Normally when vandalism is reported to Rahim or myself, we refer to the police department for investigation,” said Griselda Castro, assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs. “The police department will then determine whether the vandalism rises to the occasion of a hate crime.”
According to UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, no one reported the incident. Because it was not reported, there will be no follow-up by Reed or the university.
“At this point the act is not being considered a hate crime, rather distasteful humor,” said Joseph A. Harvey, department head of the UC Davis ROTC program.
Army ROTC, which is an elective program that students may take alongside their regular courses, aims to provide members with the physical training, tools and experiences needed to help them succeed in any competitive environment.
Miller said the program has 54 UC Davis members in addition to participants from California State University, Sacramento.
“There is already a huge stigma around PTSD and making fun of it isn’t going to help people understand what it really is and how it affects people,” Miller said.
RACHEL LEVY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.