Bathroom graffiti impacts UT campus

Hayden Baggett

While students sometimes consider graffiti to be a staple of UT bathrooms, other people see it as part of their job requirements.

Custodial Services employees attempt to remove this graffiti daily while cleaning the bathrooms. Laurie Lentz, Financial and Administrative Services communications manager, said the effort required to remove graffiti depends on the marking material used and the surface it was applied to.

“Most graffiti comes off with general purpose cleaner and firm scrubbing,” Lentz said in an email. “If graffiti cannot be removed using Custodial Services’ standard cleaning products, then a work request is submitted to have Facilities Services’ Facilities Operations and Maintenance use more aggressive methods of removal.”

In the past 60 days, 10 incidents of graffiti on campus were reported to the UT Police Department. UTPD officer Dustin Farahnak said very few of these cases can be attributed because there is an expectation of privacy in those settings.

“We’re not going to go barging in there to catch a bad guy,” Farahnak said. “We want to make sure we’re doing a good job for UT-Austin, but we don’t want to be unprofessional or lack good judgment.”

Farahnak said UTPD prioritizes large-scale vandalism that could be deemed harmful to the community, but they treat all graffiti seriously because they want the community to feel safe.

“The campus buildings are very valuable, and the community is very important,” Farahnak said. “If someone was going to permanently alter how it looks, then that is pretty serious.”

Farahnak said if he were to catch someone vandalizing a bathroom, he would, at minimum, issue a citation.

However, biomedical engineering freshman Claire Speight said bathroom graffiti on campus is both funny and inspirational.

“I don’t think it’s a problem personally,” Speight said. “It’s kind of like a forum where people post their problems and other people post motivational stuff.”

Speight said the only reason to clean up bathroom graffiti is to make room for more.

“It’s fun to read,” Speight said. “Once it gets too busy, you can’t put anything else on it, so then you have to clean it up, so people can put more graffiti on the walls.”