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The Daily Tar HeelThursday, April 16, 19875
hey can see the writing on the wall
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By BETH BUFFINGTON
Graffiti breeds graffiti, and it has
plagued UNC's campus for years,
triggering an ongoing battle between
the University's housing staff and
As it rapidly spreads, covering the
age-old standard graffiti areas such
as desks and bathrooms and the
newly-found spaces of dormitory
doors, halls and study rooms, graffiti
becomes an expensive concern for
those housing officials who contin
ually fight it.
"Time and labor on a bathroom
door costs about $25, while a wall
to clean without painting is about
$75," Cobb's area director Anne
Presnell said. But you can't just
paint over it. Graffiti bleeds through.
, "A year and a half ago, we painted
the downstairs, and we're going to
do it again this summer," she said.
"It's not bad here."
But according to University hous
ing painters Mike Tartt and Mark
McCook, graffiti is bad everywhere
"students live except for married
student housing at Odum Village.
"You don't just paint over it. You
have to prime it before you paint it."
McCook said. "This room (Alexan
der's dow nstairs lounge) has been the
biggest headache in the past three
weeks," he added as he continued
scraping the walL
"It's all the same; a little bit shows
up everywhere. As far as the rooms
go, it's just the gum for the posters,"
Tartt said. "All student housing has
it." He said lounges and study areas
are main target areas for graffiti
It takes the two painters seven to
eight hours for both of them to do
an average-sized lounge during the
school year. In the summer, the
University housing department usu
ally hires 20 to 30 students to help
its painters with most of the dormi
tory rooms and halls, Tartt and
"The worst part about it, though,
is that students don't realize how
much it costs the school and their
parents," Tartt said.
"It (Alexander's graffiti) started
last year, I think during exam time,"
sophomore Suzy Hassan, a resident
of Alexander, said of the writing on
the dormitory's study lounge wall.
CR ACQ VI A
Polish, French, German
and Scandinavian Cuisine ,
Early Bird Specials
Full meal of your choice
Open for Dinner Only
7 Days a Week at 5:30
The women's bathroom
"Everybody liked it. They said they
were still going to write on it even
after it's painted. If the whole room
was renovated, no one would do it."
But students arent stopping.
"Mangum has had some of the
greatest graffiti south of Cambridge
and some of the greatest art that
would do (Henry) Gray's anatomy
proud," said senior Bruce Lillie, a
resident adviser in Mangum.
Lillie doesn't consider graffiti a real
problem because he hasn't heard
students complain and because most
of them seem to like reading and
"A mother did get real upset once."
door in Bingham Hail provides endless entertainment for those who
Lillie said. "Usually, I think, the
fathers don't seem to care that much."
Freshman Mark Burniston was
interested in what his hallmates were
thinking about, so he decided to give
them an opportunity to anonymously
express their feelings. He put a large
sheet of paper, along with a pencil,
in both the girls' and guys' restrooms
on his floor in Alexander.
"It's a good way to figure out
what's on the minds of people on the
hall, and it's a good way to invent
something that's not attached to your
name," said Burniston. "It was fun
and something I was interested in
a lot of psychology to it. Within a
week it was filled up, and the girls'
sheet had to be flipped over within
From the sample graffiti on his
papers, Burniston concluded that
there was a difference in graffiti
written by males and females in both
subject matter and tone.
"Girls did more personal attacks
than the guys. Guys write more about
sex," he said. "Girls do more specific.
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Great copies. Great peopia
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visit during the day
personal attacks, and guys do more
general attacks on fags or something.
Girls also write more happy, positive
stuff and guys negative or not-so-nice
Whatever the graffiti says and
wherever it's located, it is hard to
ignore, as Hassan says, and hard to
get rid of, as McCook will attest.
But after all, isn't that what it was