posted 2011-03-09 13:00:15

The Written Public Forum - Decreasing the integrity of Hunter College through magic markers

The Written Public Forum

Decreasing the integrity of Hunter College through magic markers

Jenady Garshofsky

Associate News Editor

In the past, all that people had was their word. The spoken word used to be the most legitimate source of information and embodied strength powerful enough to connect a town or area through stories and events. While once effective, the spoken word has died, in terms of holding a society up to date, with the technological revolution. Along with the spoken word, the written word, in terms of public value, has gone down the drain, too. Specifically, technology has granted people the ability to connect to one another all over the world, providing instant feedback and a continual update of current events and affairs. I mention this not to stir up another debate between technology and society, but because it seems that the written public forum has been reborn: on the stalls of the bathrooms at Hunter College.

A public institution can only be as good as the people make it. After constantly waiting insurmountable amounts of time to use the restroom in between classes, Hunter’s bathrooms have become a part of the college that I try to avoid. Yes, I know talking about the bathroom is inappropriate and not exactly small talk. But this issue has become an exuberant headache and bothersome complaint that has only grown throughout my years at Hunter.

I will make only brief mentions about the maintenance, which is usually inefficient and always leaves room for improvement. I won’t even make this about the fact that the bathrooms lack toilet seat covers, which at a school with thousands of students, I find unsanitary and grotesque. What deserves sufficient mentioning is the state of the stalls themselves. It seems that the idea of a public forum exists on the bathroom stalls through means of a magic marker or inadequate ink pen.

With all the media available through technology, what good does defacing a bathroom stall do? Public forums exist all over the internet, available for public comments and input about the quality of an institution. While people may find it harmless to bring a marker into the bathroom stall, it is bringing down the overall quality of our school. Imagine that a visitor who has never been to Hunter comes for an event and uses the bathroom, only to be visually burdened by the “inspirational” quotes, gender-based drawings and trails of comments and sayings from other students’ words. This is not to say that a student’s word is not important, but defacing a bathroom stall brings to mind an angsty teenager who wants to throw a wrench in the institutional system by creating more work for the staff.

Could the reason for long bathroom lines be a result of magic marker rebels? I cannot with certainty correlate the two. But I can say that, as a college student, it exposes a severe lack of immaturity on the part of anyone who finds that drawing on the walls of the bathroom is productive, effective or by any means cool. Where has the respect for one’s school gone? Not every bathroom is defaced to a written forum from the anonymous voices of Hunter. But if you venture to Thomas Hunter hall, for example, the bathrooms are a travesty.

Who cares? It’s just a bathroom, right? Wrong. The assumption that a bathroom is a dirty place is the attitude that weakens the integrity of an institution by failing to care for every part of it. Grow up, and stop acting like you still live in your parents’ house and the school bus will be outside to pick you up at 7 a.m. As a college student trying to better yourself, with hopes of a successful future in terms of monetary reward or intellectual satisfaction, think twice before you take a marker and write all over the bathrooms. Don’t contribute to the idiocy written on the bathroom walls, because while people will see what you have to say, for the most part, no one cares. Shameless promotion of your ideas and personal sayings about what you believe has no place on a bathroom stall. It’s great that you have strong opinions or emotions about something, and I’m quite certain that you are not alone. But gaining the support of like-minded individuals can be reached by other means. A school is only as good as the students of which it is comprised, so when students show a blatant disregard for its facilities, what are they really saying?