A little over a week ago, a large yellow stain was found on the base of Mississippi State University’s iconic Bully statue in the Junction. The Mississippi State University Police Department believes the damage was caused unintentionally during a photoshoot involving smoke effects.
"They were just out there taking pictures, they were using it as an effect for the photos, their intent was never to cause damage, I think it happened, they assumed that it was nothing, the rain would wash it off, but it rained a lot and the rain did not wash it off," MSU PD Chief Vance Rice said.
MSU’s Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter, said Rice advised him of the damage the afternoon of April 5. Rice assured him the police were following leads and expected to be able to identify the people responsible.
MSU PD, with the help of video footage from the incident, posted a picture of the damaged statue on social media and urged the person responsible to contact them, or they would post his or her photo online.
The person responsible, a graduating senior, did confess. Although it was an accident, Rice said the person still should have notified MSU PD or MSU facilities.
"It’s just a matter of when you cause damage, take care of it, do the right thing, notify somebody, and offer to fix what you caused," Rice said.
Rice said he assumed the smoke bomb just fell over during the photoshoot, as it would not normally have caused that much damage.
"I’m assuming what happened is the smoke bomb fell over or blew over so it was blowing right at the statue," Rice said. "It was an accident, bad luck."
The statue is very important to students, and although it was accidental, the damage caused was not appreciated.
"I guess it was just an accident but it’s still sad," said Jewel Jolly, a freshman mathematics major.
Perhaps due to sensitivity over last semester’s Bully statue vandalism by University of Arkansas students, the public’s reaction was very negative.
"Of course the public was very harsh…," Rice said. "That’s not what this is about, we just want to know who did this, the threat of 'We’ll put your picture on Facebook,' it got them to come in and that’s all we wanted."
Rice said the person responsible ultimately did the right thing.
"I wish they would have just came in and told facilities or told us in the first place and done the right thing. I’m still not going to prosecute them because it took a little more effort to get them to do the right thing," Rice said.