Stickin’ it to the wrong man

The other day, I watched a documentary made by a Colby student in which he and his friends spray-painted various buildings and then recorded security’s response. The campus guards explained how idiotic it was to illegally vandalize so many public walls, but the student filmmaker simply mocked this lecture and, after the film, explained that he was trying to send an artistic message through the graffiti. 

His actions reflect a larger ideology circulating through the Colby community: that we are entitled to this home, and when our campus isn’t perfect or we find something we dislike, we have every right to protest in whatever way we see fit. This is pathetic.

Since Colby students feel like they own this campus, they take it upon themselves to rip down signs, pull fire alarms, smash beer bottles, and vomit in every little nook and cranny that they can find.

Now, think about the impact of this. Other students are forced to live in filthier homes, tours of prospective students and professors are exposed to sub-par living circumstances, and staff members have to clean up gallons of bodily fluids (and, most recently, feces.) Then, the rest of the dormmates have to help pay for all of the damage costs.

Dorm damage has become such a huge issue because we are desensitized to the idea of having our property broken and destroyed. As a senior, I’ve been through so many middle-of-the-night fire alarms, that over the weekend I didn’t think twice about staying in my room when an alarm went off because I was sure that it was pulled by a drunk student. When a dorm damage fee of $50 a semester seems small, it’s clear that our college has a problem. And it’s even more clear that the problem stems from entitlement and a greater lack of respect towards this campus.

What this ultimately does, beyond harming the living situations and bank accounts of fellow students and making the custodians’ jobs a whole lot worse, is ruin Colby’s image. I want to graduate from a college that maintains a high ranking amongst other elite institutions and that is known for its prestigious academic atmosphere. I think everyone on this campus wants Colby to be known as one of the best colleges in our nation, and in order to get there, we need smart students and accomplished professors.

When I bring tours through buildings on Saturday mornings, I find it incredibly hard to avoid broken signs and smashed bottles. Any family visiting on the weekend will be able to see the damage Colby’s been through on Friday and Saturday nights, and anyone who really looks into the school’s social life will notice an embarrassingly high amount of alcohol violations. For prospective students and interviewing professors, this is a huge turn-off.

We need to realize that this campus is only our home for four years, and we’re only able to be here because of the people who are helping to fund our $60,000 college tuition. This is not ours to have, and it certainly isn’t ours to destroy, especially if we want our Colby degree to actually mean something in the future.

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