BREAKING: Painting of former director of the Union stolen from Union lobby

A PHOTO POSTED on an anonymous Snapchat account (left) shows a portrait recently stolen from the Rensselaer Union. The portrait hung in the Union's west lobby (right) and was discovered missing on Thursday.

Update (8:50 am, November 25):

According to a source in the Union, after speaking with the individual who located the painting, it has been determined that the painting was found “leaning against the southeast door of the Great Room” of the Heffner Alumni House. It was not located in a dumpster as was previously believed.

Update (1:50 pm, November 24):

The painting was discovered and retrieved from a dumpster behind the Heffner Alumni House this afternoon. Currently, no further information has been gathered on the perpetrator.

A reporter from The Polytechnic has been in contact with the Department of Public Safety on the status of the painting. As more information is obtained, we will continue to update the article.

Update (6:40 pm, November 19):

President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 has provided information on the primary suspect, saying that the individual “was wearing what looked like a gray [business] suit and a full-head monkey mask. This happened at about 7:55 pm.” He explained that he has seen security footage of the incident, but is currently unsure of plans to release it to the public.

“One of my fraternity brothers saw the guy running north on 15th Street [towards Hoosick Street] after the intersection of 15th and Sage,” said Dvorak.

Update (3:10 pm, November 19):

The Poly has received the following statement from Director of Student Activities Cameron McLean:

While people may not have known Rick Hartt, his impact on the Union is felt here every day. The programs, services, and operations in the Union today are a reflection of the student advocacy he gave to the student body for 33 years. It’s saddening that this is an issue that has to be dealt with.

Update (2:48 pm, November 19):

The Poly has received a copy of the following email, which was sent by President of the Interfraternity Council Jack Schiel ’16 to members of the Greek community:

Attention everyone,

Please read this email from Nick Dvorak immediately. If a house was involved in stealing this painting, that is unacceptable. If you return the painting ASAP, there will be limited or no repercussions. However, if the painting is not returned and you are caught, you risk suspension or removal of your chapter in addition to very real legal implications. If anyone has any other information regarding this incident, please forward it to myself or Nick.




Schiel was originally sent an email by President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 regarding the incident. The message is as follows:


A painting of Rick Hartt was stolen from the Union in the past 24 hours. It is beloved by the staff and many students as Rick was an amazing Director of the Union. We have reported this to PubSafe and will be escalating to Troy PD if it is not returned shortly. This is third degree larceny and has myself and several others very upset.

PubSafe believes this was a fraternity. Could you please send out an email to the houses asking that if their members took it, to return it now. No questions asked.



Original post (2:01 pm, November 19):

A portrait of former Director of the Union Rick Hartt was seemingly stolen from the Rensselaer Union’s west lobby on Thursday. The Polytechnic has begun to investigate the issue, but no details have come to light.

Following a short investigation, students noticed a posting on an anonymous Snapchat account, rpi.snap, containing a photo of the stolen painting and a caption reading “When you steal dank shit from the union [sic].”

Hartt served as director of the Union from May 1983 until 2011, and he was revered by alumni and students alike. The portrait, a “priceless treasure” according to numerous alumni, was commissioned by Student Government and hung in the Union to commemorate all the Hartt did during his tenure.

People familiar with the painting and the theft have noted that there are two surveillance cameras in the lobby where the painting hung.

A criminal report has been filed regarding the larceny, and The Poly has requested to be notified of any breaks in the investigation. This article will be updated as more information is released.