A current trend on TikTok is gaining popularity at the University of Arizona dorms and off-campus residences. The trend consists of individuals breaking or stealing exit signs from inside of dorm buildings and off-campus residences.
Barstool Arizona is a popular Instagram page where students send in their reckless decisions in hopes of being featured on the 55.9 thousand follower account. Recently, Barstool Arizona has been featuring UA students breaking or stealing exit signs.
John Sanchez, the maintenance man at The Mark Tucson, has experienced firsthand how this trend is becoming a consistent issue.
“Up until now, there were around 30 to 40 exit signs being broken almost on a weekly basis,” Sanchez said.
Recently, Sanchez witnessed an incident that took place in the parking garage of The Mark. A resident was seen driving his truck while another individual stood in the bed. As they drove out of the lot, the man in the back of the truck continued to swat down every exit sign they passed.
According to Sanchez, nearly every exit sign in the parking garage has been knocked out.
Missing and damaged exit signs is problematic because the National Fire Protection Association requires buildings to have illuminated exit signs that work.
Repairing and replacing these signs is tedious and takes away time from Sanchez to attend to his other work duties.
“With the exit signs being destroyed, it takes away from work orders, so people get really upset,” Sanchez said.
Currently, Sanchez is one of the few maintenance men at The Mark. He is responsible for taking care of 20-30 work orders placed daily by students, which could include fixing air conditioners, washing machines, dryers or any other residential utilities. Additionally, he also manages the pool, garbage and other on-site maintenance issues.
“[The Mark is] facilitating these properties with one or two maintenance people, and it would technically take three or four people. And, unfortunately, when these things take place, we can't keep up,” Sanchez said.
In response to this ongoing trend, The Mark is now implementing a $500 charge per broken exit sign. This was done in hopes of mitigating the issue and giving Sanchez more time to work on his job duties.
According to videos posted on the Barstool Arizona Instagram page, The Mark isn't the only off-campus residence dealing with the damage of exit signs. Other off-campus residences such as Aspire, Sol y Luna, The Hub At Tucson, Urbane and more have the same issue.
On-campus residences are also experiencing missing or damaged exit signs. A resident assistant at the Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall confirmed that there have been multiple incidents related to exit signs being broken in UA dorms, including Árbol de la Vida, Arizona-Sonora, Coronado and Kaibab-Huachuca.
“Since the semester has begun, we've had over 20 exit signs in our building alone that have been broken and then re-broken,” the RA said.
This RA also had to deal with a recent incident which involved the University of Arizona Police Department.
After tearing down an exit sign, an Árbol de la Vida resident was charged with a felony by UAPD. The reason? A video for TikTok.
“It was a TikTok trend. That's what it is. It's either TikTok or that they are trying to get on Barstool Arizona,” the RA said.
In response to the rising rate of broken signs, UAPD will charge with a felony for property damaged to UA dorm residents who destroy exit signs.
According to UAPD reports, during the first month and a half of this semester alone, there were 14 cases of students breaking exit signs.
Jesus Aguilar, a UAPD police officer, is aware of incidents and reports regarding this topic.
“Specifically with the exit signs, that is kind of a somewhat new trend we have seen,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar also said that if anyone witnesses any type of criminal activity, they should report it UAPD.
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