It is extremely disappointing that defacement continues to be a common issue in college settings across the United States. Students who attend universities are typically intelligent, high-achieving individuals, who should know better than to partake in not only an illegal, but also blatantly insulting action.
“Vandalism on campus is a multifaceted problem that takes many forms, including destroying property, setting off fire alarms, stealing, and writing graffiti,” according to Campus Health and Safety’s website.
The act of damaging school property just for the sake of doing so is extremely disrespectful to a college and everyone who works there. It can no longer be seen as humorous or cool because it is ruining the reputation of our student body.
In addition to such acts being performed for street-cred, vandalism can often be used as a form of hate-crime. Considering the recent political tension, this type of crime seems to be even more pronounced.
In November of 2016, this issue was prevalent on our own campus after a swastika and the word “Trump” were painted on the common area in a residence hall.
In college, students work hard to be taken seriously and have their thoughts acknowledged and respected. This will never happen if students continue to disrespect the institution which they attend.
It is unrealistic to expect our administration to take our concerns and thoughts on other issues earnestly when we are unable to even respect the physical establishment, as acts of graffiti and defacement persist. It is imperative we hold ourselves, and our peers, to a higher standard.
Acts of defacement, however, are not limited to one political party, group or belief system. For example, at Geneseo, in the same year as the Trump incident, the College Republicans’ Greek Tree painting was defaced. Before the vandalism, “…the painting depicted a Republican elephant, the letters GOP, a checked box marked ‘Kasich,’ and the group name of the College Republicans,” according to the Genesee Sun. The tree was painted over in black and a plethora of angry faces were added.
It is unacceptable to deface school property just to make a drastic point regarding your perspective. Not only is this a crime deserving of serious consequences, it is also not an effective way to communicate. Students must cease utilizing vandalism as a form of expression.
It is imperative that our generation moves away from illegal acts of rebellion, such as graffiti and defacing property, to express our ideals through conversation. It is time to find other ways to exchange ideas and continue to acknowledge the immaturity displayed by these actions.
While it is discouraging that the reckless actions of a few reflect on all of us as students, it is important to hold each other to a certain standard. Stopping vandalism and acknowledging not only its lack of efficiency, but also its childish nature, is essential in order to enact change.