By Kristina Dunham & Cara O'Connor
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Pre-business sophomore Ryan Chapa pours a bucket of white paint onto the "A" on "A" mountain last night. Chapa was among 17 Kappa Sigma fraternity members on the mountain to repaint the "A" to its normal color when police arrived.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday March 25, 2003
Several members of Kappa Sigma fraternity set out last night on a mission to restore the "A" on "A" Mountain to its original color after it was painted black during spring break.
However, the plans of the 17 men were interrupted when the Tucson Police Department arrived at the scene just before 11:00 p.m.
"The cops paid us a little visit," said member Charlie Hall, who helped organize the event.
The group went to the mountain under the assumption that they had permission from UAPD Commander Brain Seastone and Greek Life coordinator Chris Bullins to paint the letter.
Cmdr. Seastone said, however, that he was unaware of the group's plans, and that he did not given his consent.
He added that even if he had talked with fraternity members, he could not have given them permission because the mountain in Sentinel Peak Park, 1000 S. Sentinel Peak Road, is not under UAPD's jurisdiction.
Bullins said that he spoke with Brett Gerson, Kappa Sigma president, earlier in the evening after speaking with Cmdr. Seastone. Bullins said he advised Gerson to contact Tucson Parks and Recreation before they tried to re-paint the letter.
The fraternity's plan, Gerson said, was to whitewash the "A" last night and return tonight, with anyone else who wanted to come, to add red and blue to symbolize both the country and school.
"This is not a pro-war statement," he said. "It's just simply support for the United States."
"This is support for the country, for the school," he added.
After carrying several 5-gallon tubs of paint and water coolers up the mountain road on their backs, most of the men were surprised at the size of the letter up close. Some thought that painting the "A" was going to be a bigger task than they anticipated.
Hall said that, if necessary, they would drive to the 24-hour Home Depot in Scottsdale to buy more paint to finish the job.
However, they had to amend the plan when police showed up.
Hall said that when the police drove up to the "A," they told the fraternity they could return at 7 a.m. today and join the Parks and Recreation crew that was already scheduled to cover up the black paint.
Officers at the scene said that it costs the city $5,000 to re-paint the "A" whenever unauthorized persons attempt to paint it.
The fraternity spent $360 of its own money on the paint.
During spring break, a group called "People Against Imperialism" claimed responsibility for painting the "A" black and writing "peace" across the top in opposition to the war against Iraq.