Signatures canvasing the walls of Orton Hall’s bell tower are no longer slated to be covered with paint.
Ohio Staters Inc. and OSU Facilities Operations and Development were planning last year to repaint the walls decorated with signatures of members of major student organizations across campus in an effort to preserve the history of the bell tower.
Students involved in some major campus organizations such as class honoraries, Greek organizations and ambassador programs have visited the bell tower to sign their names on the wall. Ohio Staters, which aims to promote the traditions and welfare on campus, is the primary student organization that helps facilitate students going up to the tower and manages its upkeep.
Lindsay Komlanc, spokeswoman for OSU Administration and Planning, said those plans, though, have been put aside.
“There are no plans to paint the Orton Hall bell tower at this time,” Komlanc said in an email Monday.
Scott Boden, faculty adviser to Ohio Staters and associate director of Residence Life, said while Ohio Staters initially thought the idea of painting over the signatures would be well-received, it was met with mixed views.
“One of the things (Ohio Staters was) looking at was removing the writing on the walls because it was considered graffiti. Then we met with folks that had different opinions about that. We had lots of conversations with … folks in the university that have responsibilities with physical structures on campus,” Boden said.
Last year, some students argued against the proposed cover up, saying signing the walls was an OSU tradition to them.
Boden said if the walls were to be repainted, that responsibility should fall on a group at OSU that deals with the physical facilities rather than a student organization.
“There’s some people who think we should take better care of a certain landmark, and there’s others who think this is a new tradition that’s starting to occur. And I’m not sure that’s a decision for the student organization, but rather, other entities of the university,” Boden said.
Ohio Staters continues to take student groups on tours of the bell tower weekly. Boden said Ohio Staters asks the students not to sign the wall, but ultimately it’s up to each student whether they want to do so.
Dani Harriger, a fourth-year in education, said she has several friends who have signed the walls and doesn’t see any reason to repaint them.
“Traditions are there for a reason, and as long as no one is getting harmed, I think painting over it (would) just make people angry,” Harriger said. “People are doing it in the context that the university meant so much to them, not to cause damage.”