Grafitti on campus needs to be removed and prevented

Ben Selcke, Sports Editor

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Luther needs to remove the graffiti from the bathroom stalls of academic and campus buildings, specifically from the bathrooms in the Dahl Centennial Union. Students also need to stop putting graffiti there in the first place.

I will keep my opinion limited to men’s bathrooms, though if women’s bathrooms present a similar problem, please know the opinion still pertains to them. I focus on bathroom stalls mainly because this is where where graffiti is most visible on campus.

But do not misunderstand me, I think graffiti elsewhere on campus is a problem, too. I just have not seen much of it, and for the most part, campus bathrooms are clean and well kept.

Upon entering the stalls located in the men’s bathroom near the entrance to the cafeteria the problem is apparent: graffiti, vulgar words, fraternity letters, and drawings are scratched or drawn on the walls. There are also less serious examples in the library bathrooms and some residence hall bathrooms, specifically first-year residence halls, though those present less of a problem because usually only Luther students see the graffiti.

What is most concerning about graffiti is the potential effect it has on prospective students and their parents. In order to attract the next class to the student body, Luther invites a large number of prospective students to campus in the hopes that they will enjoy their experience, the atmosphere of the college, and ultimately return as students in the fall.

Every student that tours Luther often has a meal in the cafeteria with other current students, professors, or coaches. The last thing a prospective student or their parent wants to see on a campus visit is a school and a student body that do not seem to care about maintaining clean facilities. This is especially true when Luther is so similar to many other liberal arts schools and something as minor as a graffiti could deter a student from choosing to attend Luther.

Another product of graffiti is that places with graffiti tend to accumulate further amounts of even more offensive graffiti the longer it remains unremoved. In the long run, this could attract graffiti that uses racial slurs along with the other obscene words.

The issue of graffiti might seem rather minor, but it reflects poorly on the institution. We all have a part in keeping our community in good shape. Why then is this graffiti in the bathroom likely to be frequented by prospective students and their parent left unremoved? Why not fix a problem that is rather minor but highly visible to the public?

My first year on campus the doors on the stalls in my floor’s bathroom were removed and repainted one by one. The college took action in that instance, and it would seem logical to take action in more visible locations on campus, such as the Union.

This problem is easy to fix and requires little on the part of Luther and its students. On Luther’s part, a quick coat of paint and maybe a bit of filler will aid in graffiti removal. On the students’ part, we need to act as responsible college students who care about the appearance of the institution.

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