Michael Roth, What are you doing about global warming? These were the words I saw graffitied on the sidewalk near my office this week. There were a few more global warming tags at the Usdan Center and walkways. What an important subject, but what a dumb way to articulate it! We asked physical plant workers to clear the surfaces, using even more energy resources than we already were doing. And how was I supposed to respond – with graffiti? I don’t think that would be very effective.
And an alum writes in the comments:
- Second, I want to say that although it may seem petty for students to chalk what they feel may be important questions, I believe it is a wonderful form of expression that was halted a few years ago, a subject for another email. BUT, most importantly, this student’s chalking led our new President to think for several hours about just how our University IS thinking about the University’s environmental impact. I appreciate both the chalking and your response. (#)
And two seniors:
It seems important, if a bit obvious, to point out that chalking does not waste energy resources, maintaining President Bennet’s policy of erasing any and all chalking does. I’m sure you’re familiar with the history of chalking at Wesleyan (if not, http://www.wesleyan.edu/hermes/chalking/ offers a great overview of chalking and why it was/is considered important to the activist community here), and simply brushing aside this mode of communication as “graffiti” and denigrating its practitioners is an insult both to the Wesleyan activist community and to the global tradition of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action.
(By the way, it’s worth noting that the definition of “graffiti” requires that it involve “damage or destruction to property” — and also that it be painted.)
Lilly Dagdigian ‘08
Per Stinchcombe ‘08
Ummm…seriously. I don’t want to point out the obvious (as many already have) but chalk does…you know, wash off. It wouldn’t take those resources to clean that horribly offensive “Michael Roth, What are you doing about global warming?” off the sidewalk if it wasn’t forbidden in the first place. Because if I’m reading it right, the President points out that our anti-chalking policy is bad for the environment but we’re going to continue to enforce it anyway. I mean he’s kinda saying the disease seems less severe than the cure, here.
Also, calling it graffiti is sorta like when former Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a terrorist organization…it’s sorta…erg…what’s the word I’m looking for? Sketchy?
(Sorry for the repost of Xue’s previous post, but the comments are still coming in on his post and I think they’re worth reading…because someone has to screen all his comments, they take a few days to show up.)