As many of you all likely noticed, there is a big white block spray painted on Foss right now. I first saw the block of white paint sometime Saturday afternoon. This block of white paint covered up political graffiti that was likely planned to coincide with Family Weekend. These messages were whited-out sometime between Friday night and Saturday afternoon by non-student university employees.
The graffiti read “FIRE ROTH & FARIAS.” Here are two photos of the graffiti from before it was completely covered up:
I have a few questions. First, who is responsible for the decision to cover up this form of political speech? If indeed it was some higher-up institutional force that is responsible for this, how can Wesleyan’s administration reconcile its vocal valuing of “free speech”?
Foss has been no stranger to political speech in the past. In the Fall of 2014, over 20 student activists helped bring the Monument Quilt to Wesleyan. The Monument Quilt included over 250 testimonies from survivors of sexual assault and was displayed on Foss, in full view of the entirety of campus. Later that same semester, students spray painted “Ferguson” on Foss Hill as part of a response to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the murder of 18-year-old Mike Brown.
What makes this message so different that it needed to be erased by Wesleyan? Is it that it coincided with Family Weekend? Is it because it directly addresses parts of the Wesleyan Administration? Why was this covered up but posters in Exley with similar messages were allowed to remain? How much money did it cost to cover up the graffiti? If something this public is going to be painted over, students deserve answers to these questions.
Why are people shocked that the university would cover up vandalism? Sure, call it political speech, but ultimately whoever did this vandalized university property, and should consider themselves lucky the university didn’t press charges as it would be justifiable for them to do so.
I understand there is grievances to be had against the administration, but vandalizing property isn’t justified.
This is not a free speech issue, get over yourself. The university is well within their limits.
How do you know it was whited out by university employees?
Whoever it was, good job.
I don’t know why it was covered… maybe for the same reason that students can’t go writing “TRUMP 2016” everywhere in chalk?
Go to a city park and spray paint “MAYOR X NEEDS TO BE FIRED” into the grass and see how long it lasts.
There are legitimate grievances that need to be heard, but this is just sad that someone even wrote an article about this.
I kind of admire the students who, for once, aren’t giving up. However, at the same time, it isn’t going to happen.
And part of the that is because you all decided to make this about more than just Backer or transparency, which would have been the most effective and engaging issues to press (as opposed to making this about Farias and students of color). Your average parent and donor will neither understand nor care about how Backer’s past somehow relates to how Antonio Farias doesn’t do his job effectively.
Antonio Farias is the Chief Title IX Officer and is paid to do similar things as Scott Backer, yet Students don’t feel comfortable reporting to him which is likely why reports of sexual assault were at ZERO last year but I can tell you for sure there were more than one instances of sexual assault. If parents don’t care to engage in the message and discussion it’s not our fault. Just because messaging doesn’t make sense to people not experiencing things on campus doesn’t mean they’re illegitimate grievances.