MARIETTA, Ga. -- The iconic globe in the middle of Southern Polytechnic State University's Marietta campus came crashing down Tuesday night.
The globe, long a landmark on campus, was laying on its side, with the text "Save SPSU" scrawled in chalk on the sidewalks surrounding the circular planter at the base ofwhere the globe normally is mounted.
The "Save SPSU" legend is tied to protests on Monday by SPSU students, upset with plans announcedby the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to merge the schoolwiththe largerKennesaw State University by 2015.
Students are divided on just what happened.
Some say the globe was weakened during Monday's rally as students climbed the structure to write on it.
"It was just a matter of time for this to come down," said mechanical engineering student, Caesar Gonzales.
The globe has fallen before, two years ago during a storm. But this time there are students who believe someone gave the world, a helping hand.
There are reports of a person in a hooded sweatshirt running away. The school says it has novideo surveillance in this area, and today the university president sent out a letter asking for witnesses to come forward. She also told students especially now, with the merger, actions to damage school property or pride would not be tolerated.
"There are so many other ways that are less destructive to make a point, other than pushing something so iconic to our school," said sophomore Samantha Burton.
Just who would be making that statement and what it would be is up for debate. Another student says he saw a large man go up to the structure, almost in an effort to give it a big hug. He believes whatever happened, was accidental.
"All it's going to serve to do is bring us closer together and make us stronger," said senior April Grissom.
As the globe wasmoved to a safer location until it could be fixed, students seemed even more determined.
"I think it's very important that the students should pick up the ball, figuratively and literally and put it back where it belongs," said Gonzales.
Four otherinstitutional consolidations around the state have been undertaken since early 2012,in an effort to save money and combine resources. The SPSU-KSU merger would be one of the largest of these consolidations.