Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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Do I have to draw a picture?

Re: "Chalk it up to vivacity," Feb.13

To the Editor:

Hey chalkaholics, there is no right to freedom of thought and expression in chalk on buildings. This is vandalism and I challenge you to do it in front of any campus police officer. So far, the artists remain anonymous. If you like your chalk art so much, why don't you sign your work?

Chalk is indeed soft and easily eroded, but not on vertical surfaces protected by an overhanging sill. Many of these drawings also persist on the buildings because:

1. The artist fails to remove the artwork

2. Erosional processes are notoriously slow without rain

3. Power-washing is expensive; just request this service from Physical Plant

The buildings are owned by The University of Western Ontario. When most of them were constructed, tuition accounted for less than 20 per cent of the university's operating budget. Today, even with provincial cutbacks the figure is close to 40 per cent each year. You have not purchased university property by paying tuition. Let's call it closer to rent. So, if we are all "renting" the buildings, then shouldn't the artists ask permission from everyone before creating their chalk masterpieces?

Simon Donato
Geology
M.Sc. candidate

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