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.