Three pieces of the banners lining construction fences on North Campus have disappeared over the last week, leaving sizable gaps in the posters. As a result of the disappearances, the damaged banners featuring photos of student-athletes in action and building plans were removed Wednesday morning to be sewn together.
The banners were first tampered with after the first weekend that students moved back on campus this fall. At the time, one banner was found hanging on the fence with a segment missing. Now, a month later, two more banners have had portions taken from them.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and worked a lot with the administration on setting up those banners,” said Joe Vangsgard, the banners’ graphic designer. “It’s always disappointing when something happens to them.”
Public Safety was unavailable for a comment on the investigation of the incidents.
For now, the seven other intact banners still line the fences in the Upper and Lower Quads and the sidewalk connecting the two quads. The damaged banners will be put back up after the original manufacturers fix them.
“In a perfect world we’d replace them, but it costs money to do that, and until we find out who did it … we’re going to sew it together,” Vangsgard said. “It’s not going to look the best sewn together but better than a banner hanging out.”
Students react to the disappearing banners
Senior Jackie Berling, one of the dance team members featured in a photo on the banner, was surprised to find out that someone took the section her photo was in.
“It’s kind of disturbing that there’s a life-size picture of me that someone took and I don’t know where it is or what they’re doing with it,” Berling said. “I hope it’s intact and being displayed with integrity rather than being destroyed.”
Other students were not as surprised to hear that sections from the banner went missing.
“I think it’d be a cool decoration item,” sophomore Matt Dennison said. “If there was one with me in it, I’d take it.”
More than just decorations
Vangsgard came up with the banner idea earlier this year as a way to hide some of the construction mess and build excitement about the new facilities for everyone who comes to campus.
The banners are half vinyl and half mesh to lower wind resistance and were put up in July, one weekend before the first summer orientation session. Each of the banners cost around $600. Seven of the banners with athletes’ pictures are 50-feet long, while one more spans 40 feet to allow room for some signage. Two additional banners display the complex’s name and Opening Doors campaign slogan.
“It’s a little disrespectful to the school,” freshman Roz Murphy said. “It’s not [whoever took the pieces’] property. Why should they feel the need to take it?”
University Relations had planned to use the banner idea for other future construction sites, such as the proposed student center, but Vangsgard said the example set by the missing banners has raised some concerns.
“Hopefully it’s something we can keep doing, but if vandalism and things like that keep happening, we only have a certain amount of money that we can really put towards this,” Vangsgard said. “We’ll do what we can with what we got.”
Grant Goerke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org