Editorial: The writing on the wall
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 2:41am
YES, THE ELEVATOR is closed. So what? It happens often enough. About every three months or so someone does something dumb, and it’s another two weeks of taking the stairs. But this time, the price isn’t so small. “Until the end of the year” just has a different ring to it.
Someone thought that changing “and” to “sand” on one of the frighteningly fluorescent elevator signs was worth the potential inconvenience of 300 people. Our message is: This person was wrong.
What’s even worse is the timing of this incident, following less than a full week after obscene scrawlings were removed from a wall on the fourth floor. Though there has not been any mass punishment for this act, the message of the graffiti was sufficiently crass to spark outrage among faculty and even some students.
There is a time and place for rule-breaking. There is nothing commendable in blindly adhering to policies if one doesn’t stop to consider the purpose behind the rules. But there is nothing to be gained from writing all over things that do not belong to you, particularly if what you’re writing isn’t even funny. Sure, desk graffiti is understandable. Graffiti with a message is understandable. Writing stupid things just in order to see what you can get away with is not.
On the other hand, we can’t honestly say we believe the administration is entirely in the right on these matters. The tone of the elevator signs seemed to almost invite a challenge, threatening consequences severe enough that an inexperienced student may not have found them credible.
While we believe that both of these incidents reflect incredibly immature conduct, we also understand that Uni students range in age from 11-18 years. Threatening dismissal for graffiti that would be common in any middle school strikes us as unnecessarily extreme. People make mistakes. What’s essential is understanding not only that this behavior is inappropriate, but also that it’s not particularly funny or worthwhile. We believe that this understanding can be gained with time, and even through trial and error.
Ideally, this would never be a problem in the first place. If Uni students truly acted as the “students who are going to be the leaders of the world” that parents and faculty insist we are, then yes, there wouldn’t be such acts of vandalism (although we hear world leaders *cough* Blagojevich *cough* aren’t always perfect themselves).
Hopefully these pencil-happy students have learned there’s not much to be gained from turning the school into an obnoxious joke mural or men’s room at the airport. And ideally, other students will learn from their peers’ bad example. We hope that we will be graduated by a Uni that houses an administration sensible enough to open the elevator and students sensible enough not to write all over it or turn it into a giant salad.