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University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Vandals bring politics to the university walls



Messages written in black marker and stickers resembling miniature political yard signs seem to be the media of choice for the unknown vandals responsible for tagging up several buildings across campus with politically charged graffiti last week.


The music building elevator and a library elevator both had “Biden sucks” stickers that have since been scratched out enough to barely make out what the original message said.


Graffiti in support of former President Donald Trump’s anticipated presidential bid was also found throughout the C Wing stairwell on the east end of King Hall a week earlier.


Phrases such as “Trump 2024” and “Biden Sucks” were tagged on multiple levels of the stairwell and were removed by facility services several days later.


This round of tagging and sticker placement isn’t the first this semester. Previously, the music building elevator has had multiple waves of graffiti and stickers left on the door and inside walls. According to TVFM major Isabella Calderon-Reyes, there is new graffiti in the music building elevators every couple of weeks.


“I ride that elevator every Tuesday and Thursday,” Calderon-Reyes said. “As soon as they clean it, it’s tagged on again.”


While she has noticed the graffiti, she doesn’t have much of a problem with it.


“I am pro-graffiti,” Calderon-Reyes said. “I think that graffiti is a form of art that might not be looked at in the most positive light, but there’s still a message, and I feel like if the message is good, it doesn’t matter how it’s portrayed and how it’s displayed.”


Calderon-Reyes also said that while the graffiti can be polarizing, the messages don’t affect the campus as a learning environment.


“I’ve definitely heard different opinions of some people who are very passionate and they actually appreciate this sort of tagging,” she said. “Or it’s the other way around and, they just don’t understand why people are doing this and why here, why on the elevators, seeing a very negative opinion about it.


Other students like Errin Lambey, a senior art major, loves graffiti as an art form and feels everybody has a right to their opinion, even if she disagrees with it. However, she takes an opposing position when it comes to graffiti on the university campus.


“I just don’t agree with the graffiti. It just makes the school look nasty and janky,” Lambey said. “And if you come to this school, you should really respect it.”


Lambey feels more surveillance would help counteract vandalism on campus and has a specific idea of what that would be.


“I definitely would love to see more cameras and definitely not more officers,” she said. “It would just make the students feel more timid to walk around campus. We should be wanting to feel free on campus.”


California has various laws for vandalism on the books, depending on the amount of damage done and how many prior vandalism charges a person has had.  The minimum charge is a misdemeanor where the cost of damages is below $400; that has a maximum penalty of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.


A spokesperson from The Cal State LA Communication and Public Affairs office responded to the University Times to address the graffiti on campus.


“Over the last few weeks, Facilities Services has removed profane graffiti from locations in King Hall and the University Library. In response to the graffiti, our Department of Public Safety has increased patrols in these areas.”


The spokesperson also said the incidents are under investigation, and no arrests have yet been made: “The university provides opportunities for expressions of political perspectives and ideas. We encourage those who wish to engage in dialogue to seek out these forums.”


The university encourages those who discover graffiti or other forms of vandalism to report it to The Department of Public Safety at 323-343-3700 or through the Rave Mobile app.


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Xavier Zamora
Xavier Zamora, Production Manager & Senior Multimedia Reporter
Xavier Zamora is a fourth-year TV, Film, & Media and Journalism double major. When he's not writing a bio for himself, he enjoys getting dark-humor memes from his kids and attending concerts. He still hasn't discovered the ever-elusive nap.

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