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Commentary: Bathroom stalls, a canvas for true freedom of expression at Ohio State

Journalists are supposed to be the voice of the people, the link between the government, big companies and the people. We are called upon to be fair and represent the interests of the masses.

In line with this sentiment, I have taken it upon myself to find the true voice of the students of the Ohio State. As a columnist, it’s not typically my job to go out into the field, but I am a firm believer in the practice of excellence, and as such I went to the only place where people are free to say what they want, anonymously, without fear of social backlash.

Bathroom stalls.

Ever since the emergence of ‘Banksy,’ a Britain-based graffiti artist who created works with political and social commentary, graffiti has become a more legitimate outlet for the social woes and injustices of creative hoodlums. And why should we discount the validity of these Shakespearean quotes, simply because they are scrawled in a gruesome fashion into the paint, in between bricks and on the toilet paper dispenser?

The average Bathroom Banksy of our time, in our university, has just as much to say as any rogue artist on the street, and I found a good sampling of student voices. But keep in mind, these findings are not completely all-encompassing, as my credentials only gave me access to the men’s restrooms.

“Before there was no way to be a total dumbass. But thanks be to God who made a way. The way is Jesus Christ!” comes from a stall in Denney Hall.

This is especially poignant now that it’s warm enough for the screaming preachers to begin camping out on the Oval. And now that Obama has come out for the homosexual right to marry, religious zealots across the nation are demanding his head.

In the Mathematics Tower, written on the wall of a stall is a crudely drawn bug followed by a series of more kindergarten representations of animals, then a human. Below this is a stick figure with breasts and another one sans breasts, both next to an apple tree with a snake on it, and an arrow pointing to another pair of stick figures to the right.

“What seems right?” is written below this skilled artwork. I was surprised to find an ode to creationism in a bathroom stall, but my biggest complaint was this bathroom had the worst stench of the bathrooms I visited.

“OSU – giving all our money to stupid business students, future lawyers and idiotic footballers. OSU – the premiere corporate university,” is written on another stall in Denney Hall.

This is a brutal statement, especially in a school that puts so much effort and financial backing into its sports program. But it isn’t an opinion to be taken lightly.

There are plenty of liberal arts students who feel left out of the money machine that is OSU. It’s colder than Satan’s margarita in Denney, which houses the Arts and Sciences Department, in the winter, and in the summer it’s hotter than God’s electric blanket in a house fire.

There has also been a history of open dissent about OSU’s corporate dealings. Remember Sodexo? Last May protestors rallied on campus to raise awareness about alleged workers’ rights abuses by OSU contractor Sodexo, an international food and facilities management company.

And not to mention OSU’s potential deal with Silver Star, which would end the contract of 124 existing apparel contracts to give all exclusive rights to the company owned by the Dallas Cowboys, bringing sweatshop-profits into our university’s income.

Occupy the Oval made a bit of a stir and plenty of students were pissed off enough at OSU for its less ethical financial decisions to stand up and say something into a microphone. But the Occupy movement isn’t localized to OSU, it is a national movement and there’s a reason for its existence.

Corporate greed and fear mongering is no longer going unnoticed in America. People are catching on to their sick game, and it all starts in our community. Students are not satisfied with the way OSU is conducting its business.

“You are matter that is aware it is matter. And no matter really matters,” comes from our very own Journalism Building.

This shows at least one person comprehends the finer points of nihilism and existentialism. Seems like something in the education system is working at least.

Then there’s “Drug dealin’ just to get by,” from Scott Laboratory.

Marijuana legality, low-income lifestyle, counterculture, this simple statement has it all. It would be foolish for the more privileged of us college kids to forget the fact that life is hard for those who did not have access to the myriad resources we have.

It would do you good to keep in mind all the hardships other people have beyond having their favorite team lose, failing a test or getting so drunk last weekend you were punched in the face and lost your keys.

“Man’s darkest hour will be his finest,” reads a stall in Dulles Hall.

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