Facilities Services works to clean up chalk vandalism on campus

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Following Bevo XIV’s death, a chalk representation of the UT and Texas A&M mascots adorned the East Mall Fountain on Monday morning, accompanied by the words “R.I.P. Bevo” and “A&M lives on.”  

Landscape Services washed the chalk off upon discovering it, according to Laurie Lentz, communications manager of University Operations. As demonstrated by Monday’s incident, clean-up procedures, set in place by Facility Services, attempt to remove chalk artwork as soon as possible. 

Lentz said Facility Services cleans up vandalism based on requests or prior knowledge of graffiti. 

“To keep our campus as clean and orderly and inviting as possible, it would be important to clean [vandalism] up,” Lentz said.

Computer science freshman James Graham said he sees chalk vandalism frequently, and while some artwork is gone within two or three days, he has seen others last up to a week and a half. He said he has never reported an instance of chalk vandalism.

“I figured it was chalk and it will wash off, so I didn’t feel like it required immediate University attention,” Graham said.

Lentz said she believes chalk vandalism is a prevalent issue on campus and occurs frequently.

“I think [vandalism] is fairly easy to do, and it can be easy to do undetected at night,” Lentz said. “The simplicity of it draws people.”

Lentz said chalk vandalism is most common outdoors and is frequently seen around parking garages. Indoor vandalism occurs less often and is usually written with Sharpies. Custodial Services, a division of Facilities Services, is responsible for cleaning the vandalized areas.

Landscape Services, another division of Facilities Services, is usually the first to detect and wash off vandalism because of their 6 a.m. arrival on campus, according to Lentz.

While the content of chalk messages vary, Lentz said Facility Services responds if they are asked to clean it up, regardless of whether the message is offensive or not.

“Experience has proven that any amount of graffiti attracts more graffiti, so our practice is to remove graffiti as soon as it’s noticed,” Sally Moore, associate director of Facilities Services, said in a Daily Texan article published Oct. 15, 2013.

Graham said he thinks chalk transcriptions provide a way to make messages public but said he doubts the reliability of this method, because it will most likely be erased or removed.

“I think that if someone’s got a message that they want to deliver publicly, it’s an interesting way to do it, but I don’t know that it’s super effective,” Graham said.