Graffiti costs GV $1,400

By Chelsea Lane | 4/15/12 10:16pm

GraffitiRGB1

GVL / Archive
There has been a number of graffiti tags around campus recently.

by GVL Archives / Grand Valley Lanthorn

A recent wave of on-campus graffiti has cost Grand Valley State University — and potentially its students — almost $1,400.

Grand Valley Police Department officials said they first received reports of graffiti at the start of the month, with four recent incidents occurring in all.

In order to clean up campus graffiti, the university must hire a contractor to remove the paint with a sandblaster. Cleaning up and repairing damage from these four most recent instances of graffiti cost the university $1,375, which was taken from the university’s general fund and will be factored into tuition costs next year unless a culprit is identified and held criminally and financially accountable.

“Students need to know that this graffiti is costing them their tuition money,” said Capt. Brandon DeHaan, assistant director of GVPD.

On April 2, red spray paint was discovered on the Cook-DeWitt Center sidewalk. The graffiti read “Revolution” with a backwards E and L, similar to a design used on Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s website.

On April 4, white spray paint reading, “the system is broken” was found on the Arboretum sign. The following day, additional spray paint with the same message appeared on the Cook Carillon Tower.

On April 9, “Kony 2012,” a reference to an Invisible Children campaign, was spray painted on the north side of the Kirkhof Center sidewalk.

Although the graffiti in question all share political themes, police say at this point they are not sure if the instances were committed by the same individual or group.

“We don’t know if they are interrelated but what we do suspect is we have individuals identifying political statements and damaging university property,” DeHaan said. “The university campus, buildings and grounds are an inappropriate canvas to express one’s views, including political viewpoints. Those wishing to express political viewpoints may contact the Office of Student Life to identify appropriate spaces to do so… These are crimes, pure and simple.”

DeHaan added that graffiti falls under the legal definition of malicious destruction of property and is not protected by the First Amendment. However, GVSU’s chalking policy does allow registered student organizations to use water-soluble chalks to write messages on designated sidewalks to advertise upcoming events.

clane@lanthorn.com

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