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By Lisa Whitaker
The Volkswagen Beetle on the Concrete Beach managed to bug a few students yesterday, as anti-consumerism graffiti was found on the sidewalk surrounding the University Community Centre.
On Wednesday night, comments including "Mindless consumers wanted" and "Human need, not Greed" were scrawled in response to the cars and equipment on display outside the UCC, said Mike Gretes, a second–year scholars' electives student who said he was responsible for the graffiti.
"They're turning the university into a car lot," he said, adding he felt angry the university allowed corporations to promote their products on campus and in the UCC atrium.
Ken Miller, production manager for The Major Motion Picture Show, a Volkswagen sponsored publicity tour, said he was initially concerned about the written comments, but was grateful they were not permanently inscribed. "We're here for a good party, not to bring any waves of trouble," he said.
Miller added the tour's goal for the week was to network and inform students, not to sell anything.
Still, James Ede, the Oxfam Students Association co-president, said the issue of campus corporatization concerned him deeply. "I'm angry that student space is a priority to commercial vendors for large amounts of money to sell products, while non-profit groups are getting kicked off the Concrete Beach for not paying." He added he felt they are being forced to compete unfairly.
"Any display that presents or creates controversy could identify a concern," said Const. Wendy McGowan of the University Police Department. She added in the past, there had been no major incidents of damage to displays on campus.
SzeJack Tan, University Students' Council president, said students ultimately benefited from corporations visiting campus, since their paid appearances would put money back in students' pockets.