Make your mark, but not with Sharpie

There were no obscenities, but that’s not what this is about. Among goofy heads, an octopus and toast, the most rebellious image was that of three familiar words, underlined in red: “Make your mark.”

The doodles were well-drawn enough to be considered works of art, if drawn on paper, that is. It would be nice to give the artists the benefit of the doubt, to accept that maybe they just weren’t thinking through their actions. We do currently lack a public artistic outlet, and it is not unreasonable to ask for one. The problem is, they didn’t ask. Art became vandalism.

The act was not only illegal, but also violated common decency. Maintenance workers had to take the time to paint over the tables, doing extra, avoidable work. After so many years of being in an environment that celebrates morality, it should be second nature for us to anticipate the consequences of our actions. Taking 20 minutes to draw a distinctive octopus was not just mindless scribbling. Pen in hand, the drawers either couldn’t see the implications or chose to ignore them. Which is worse, oblivion or malice?

In a community deeply rooted in honor, it was shocking to see such a petty method of rebellion. In every respect, the school sets high but attainable standards for us. The majority of the time, we willingly step up and accept those challenges. The school may teach us to be respectful, but we are the ones who accept the lesson and put it into action. That’s why the Honor Code works. Witnessing a group of peers’ inconsiderate actions that contradicted those deeply rooted ideals just felt wrong. 

Graffiti seldom appears on wooden desks or bathroom stalls, but the rarity makes this isolated incident no less inappropriate. Even if we sometimes take our beautiful, clean campus for granted, we truly are lucky. So let’s keep it the way it is. Vandalizing it hurts everyone, no matter if pencil, pen or permanent ink is used.

This is not the first time the school motto has been ridiculed. But once school property was defaced, harmless mocking escalated to outright disrespect.

The tables were repainted within a few days, but the mark had already been made. Just a single hand wrote Huybrechts’ words on the table, and that alone associated the rest of the graffiti with the phrase. The student body could have taken the high road, just chosen to accept the intended meaning of the motto, but we didn’t. And it only takes one.