Writing on the Walls

The phrase, “I left you a present,” brands a restroom stall in DeBartolo Hall. An arrow underneath the phrase points to the toilet. 

Phone numbers and vulgar phrases adorn the wall of the second-floor restroom.

Sophomore Rick Mercer has noticed the graffiti and said it gives Youngstown State University a bad image. 

“Honestly, you have nothing better to do with your time than write on walls while you’re in the bathroom?” he said. 

Thomas Felix, supervisor of Somers Building Maintenance Site Services, YSU’s cleaning company, said that he’s seen more restroom graffiti in DeBartolo Hall than anywhere else on campus. 

“This was [the] only place I’ve heard of the graffiti being vulgar,” said SBM manager Jonathon Winston. “All the other buildings, we really haven’t had many issues, and we’re cleaning every night.”

Winston and Felix notice more graffiti during winter. 

“It got worse when it got colder,” Winston said. “I think it’s because more people are hanging out inside.”

Student Government Association President Elyse Gessler said that restroom graffiti is an unsightly distraction for anyone on campus. 

“It’s a shame,” she said. “DeBartolo has a lot of history because of its age. For someone to do something like that to a great university like YSU speaks volumes about that person’s character.”

Lt. Michael Cretella of the YSU Police Department said there have been situations in which campus police have been called because of restroom graffiti. 

“We want to see what it is,” he said. “If we feel that it is something that may be gang related or criminally related, we contact the appropriate agency.”

Removing the markings quickly will help to keep the campus clean, Cretella said.

“We want to get it removed as soon as possible,” he said. “If you remove it, eventually people will get the hint that it’s not going to last, and they’ll stop doing it.”

Cretella said individuals who deface campus property will face charges. 

“They’re getting arrested,” he said. “There’s no slap on the wrist. The message we’re trying to get across is that that behavior is not tolerated on this campus.”

Perpetrators can be charged with destruction of university property, resulting in a referral to the university judicial system.

Gessler encourages students to report any graffiti on campus to janitorial services or building maintenance. Cleaning staff checks the restrooms for graffiti nightly. 

“We want to encourage students to take pride in and respect our campus,” she said.