Mar 022004
 
Authors: Amy Sulzbach

The College Republicans are starting a campaign against the

politically charged graffiti and chalking outside of the Lory

Student Center’s Plaza using a collection of photos exposing the

scribbles found on campus.

The project, named “Campus Insanity”, is a way for students to

express their grievances against anti-conservative and

anti-Republican messages.

These messages are often spray painted on walls and pathways

around university property, said Jesse Mallory, the group’s

co-chair and a senior political science major.

Jacob Seybert, a group member and senior psychology major,

maintains the project on the College Republican’s Web site, where

graffiti photos and student feedback are posted.

Seybert said photos that clearly “cross the line” of both

vandalism and political bias are put on the site.

By showing photos to students, professors and community members,

the group hopes that not only will people become aware of what it

considers to be hostile messages, but also that the messages will

get cleaned up.

It has been weeks and months and some of the things people write

are still up, Mallory said.

The group points to two locations behind the Education

Building’s north side as an example. The spray-painted words “Mr.

Bush you are a liar,” have remained on a sidewalk and a retaining

wall since the beginning of the semester.

Pictures on the Web site show other spots on campus where

messages have once appeared and often still exist. The pictures

include political cartoons and advocacy ads featured on faculty

office doors as well.

“People can put up what they want on campus; it’s part of free

speech,” said Brandon Bean, a junior political science major.

College Republicans are not trying to take away students right

to free speech, Mallory said, but they want everybody to realize

that this vandalism is offensive to a large part of the student

population.

“We have the right to oppose it,” Mallory said.

Bean thinks the project will be largely inefficient.

“I don’t feel like the site is actually discussing any issues,”

he said.

He also said the project’s name is discriminatory because it

insinuates that others’ views are wrong.

The group expected a lot of student opposition to “Campus

Insanity”, but Mallory said that for the most part, it just is not

forming.

“Campus Insanity” is also being supported by several local

officials, lobbyists and legislators, and community members, he

said.

Mallory recently spoke with Colorado Gov. Bill Owens. He

described the Governor’s reaction to the project as surprised.

According to Mallory, Owens was shocked that political disagreement

has turned into actual vandalism at CSU.

Mallory explained to Owens the “magnitude” of the CSU campus

situation, and he said Owens supports the venture.

Mallory has also held discussions with David Horowitz about his

support for the group’s project and Horowitz’s desire to include

information about “Campus Insanity” on the Students for Academic

Freedom Web site.

The project would serve as a model and as encouragement to other

campuses looking to be involved or to campuses currently

involved.

At the project’s onset, Mallory and other group members

presented the assortment of photos at a Larimer County Republicans’

breakfast meeting in early February.

The collective response, he said, was that of surprise about the

issue and support for the project. The group has also shown the

pictures to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colorado and several other

legislators.

Students have been sending in feedback and utilizing the “Campus

Insanity” project Web site for several weeks now. Seybert has

posted several comments from students in response to the collection

of pictures: comments that both agree and disagree with the

projects mission.

The group is considering adding a list of what it sees as

offensive or ideologically biased quotes from university faculty

and professors.

The goal is to create a forum where any student, in dissent or

agreement, can submit photos and comments to the site creator.

“Republican or not, there is support for it,” Mallory said.

Though some students like Bean see the project as politically

biased, the group said it wants to reach beyond partisan

politics.

Regardless of the political messages behind the graffiti, “it’s

unsightly,” Seybert said.

Sara Farb, a junior biomedical sciences major and co-chair of

the College Republicans, said the problem is not just people

putting messages up in unapproved locations around campus outside

of the Plaza. It is also that people have taken to using spray

paint, which is not cleaned up as easily as chalk.

At this point, she said, it becomes another issue entirely —

vandalism.

Bean, conversely, sees the painted or chalked opinions as just

that — opinions in the form of peaceful protest.

“These phrases aren’t hurting anybody,” Bean said.

Eli Torres, the student center’s custodial supervisor, said

students are able to write anything they want in the Plaza as long

as it remains non-racial and non-discriminatory.

All messages must be made with a washable material, Torres

said.

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