I go by the graffiti wall multiple times a day. It’s really nice when there are positive messages, for example, for a while “#TransLivesMatter” was on the wall. But, two weeks ago, someone covered “Trans” with “All.” It’s all been covered up by members of the community now. However, this is not an isolated event. This is a recurring problem and it’s not only transphobia put on the wall. The wall has been the host of plenty of hate speech as a result of the IVCF controversy from last year. Knowing this, quite a few people think that we should just take it down.
I brought this up at the Student Senate General Assembly and they discussed what to do. Some points were brought up that I think are important to mention. The wall has been used in non-hateful ways. It has been used for a memorial and my organization, YDSA, used it to advertise for the climate strike. But, do we really want our messages to be next to or covered by hate? One of the biggest problems with the wall and why this has been a continuous problem is the bigot responsible can’t be held accountable for their actions. Some have wondered if we can install cameras. There already are cameras. The bigot only acts at night and they wear a hoodie, so cameras don’t work. There is some worry that if we remove the wall, then people will put graffiti on actual buildings. Well, that’s a crime and Campus Safety and cops can handle that. Some people wanted to come up with an alternative or a way to store the wall during the night, but I think this point ignores the core problem: students on this campus are being terrorized.
This probably doesn’t affect most people on this campus, but think about those who are. The quickest route from Q & A House to the cafeteria is next to the wall. The graffiti wall is a tool used by an anonymous bigot to emotionally abuse the marginalized people in our community. There are better mediums to act as a public forum, like TKS, and better places for artistic expression, like Cellar Door. We like to think of Knox as a “liberal campus,” but that will not defend us from bigotry. We must act.
Student Senate can request to remove the wall, but they need to know what the student body thinks. If you fill out the form made by student senate regarding the graffiti wall, I’ll make sure that some Senators will go to the General Assembly knowing your opinion.
To access the student senate survey, follow this link: