UHCL The Signal
Student Publications Office
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd., Box 456
Houston, TX 77058
A vandal was arrested March 23 for tagging “nine,” “slumped TX” and “slumped boyz” in UHCL’s men’s restrooms and campus stairways. Despite the graffiti culprit tagging UHCL’s campus, he was not a UHCL student.
Cesar Lupian Jr. a 24-year-old resident of Webster was arrested and charged with a criminal Trespass Warning and “Graffiti” Class B charges. This offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail because the markings were done on an institute of higher education. With these charges, Lupian is not allowed to enter the campus for any reason, and if he does he will be arrested and charged with trespassing.
“The UHCL PD worked with the UHCL custodial staff and CCTV cameras on campus to narrow down a time frame of when the incident was occurring, this allowed us to identify the suspect,” said Allen Hill, UHCL chief of police. “From there, operations were conducted by the UHCL PD to get a positive identification on the suspect to obtain an arrest warrant. Once we obtained the arrest warrant, we arrested the suspect at his nearby residence.”
In addition to the criminal charges, if Lupian was a UHCL student found guilty for this crime, or any violation, his punishment could range from a warning, suspension or expulsion depending upon the severity of the crime.
“Any time university property is destroyed or defaced, the act would be considered vandalism,” said David Rachita, dean of students.
Freedom of speech has been a controversial topic across many colleges and universities. It is the First Amendment in the United States Constitution, and it protects students from the university censoring their voices. In fact, in the right setting graffiti can be an art form or protected form of speech. However, there are laws that separate free speech and vandalism.
“You cannot destroy property in order to display free speech,” Hill said.
Although this act was considered vandalism due to the defacing of UHCL’s property, if a student would like to display their art or exercise their right to freedom of speech, UHCL has an approval process that one can undergo.