Vandals tip St. Paul bull statues, intoxicated woman hospitalized

Britt Johnsen

Vandals tipped over three 1,400-pound bronze bulls on the St. Paul campus last week in an act officials said took more than 10 people.

Weisman Art Museum Public Art Coordinator Shelly Willis said it took six people from University Landcare and a forklift to return the bulls to their upright positions.

The sculptures were not damaged in the incident, which took place Sept. 17, and authorities have no suspects, but officials said targeting the bulls is not new.

Last spring the bulls were moved more than 100 feet and turned in the opposite direction.

Willis said the bulls’ unusual attention is a public art rarity.

“In my 20 years of working with public art, this is the first time attention like this has been given (to a piece of art),” Willis said. “It is very rare that works of art are vandalized in any way.”

In response to their popularity, the sculptures will soon be bolted to the ground, Willis said.

“I’m hoping it will happen (within the next couple of days), but it’s a process,” she said. “I just don’t want anything else to happen to (the sculptures).”

The process will cost the University $4,000, but Willis said the bulls’ prestige merits protection.

“Of all the public art work on campus, they seem to be the most beloved,” Willis said. “These are important works of art that are nationally known.”

Continuing problems

Early Sunday morning an ambulance from Hennepin County Medical Center took an 18-year-old woman from Territorial Hall to Fairview-University Medical Center.

The woman was so intoxicated she could not speak, stand or sit without help. A breath test could not be given because paramedics said it might cause additional vomiting. Police issued her an underage drinking citation.

There were 24 underage drinking citations issued since Sept. 18.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said continued underage drinking problems require rigorous enforcement.

“We will always be enforcing underage drinking,” Johnson said. “There are always questions Ö what if somebody hadn’t gotten help in time? What if somebody hadn’t intervened?”