Every world leader will have their fans and, inevitably, their critics. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, falls into this category and lately, her critics at Miami University have been out in full force. Early on the morning of March 18, graffiti decrying her visit to Miami on March 31 was found on the Farmer School of Business, Upham Arch and the sidewalks around the buildings, according to Jeff Prater, senior manager of grounds and horticulture at Miami.
The graffiti on FSB read “Shame on FSB Condoleezza Rice equals war criminal,” Prater said. The graffiti on Upham and the sidewalks were of similar nature, according to Prater. Three different departments, the paint shop, building management and grounds services, were notified of the graffiti early Friday morning and responded immediately to clean it up, Prater said. However, the graffiti, which looked like chalk, was not easy to wash away, according to Prater.
“The graffiti appeared to be chalk but it responded differently,” Prater said. “The paint shop had to use some sort of chemical and it took quite a while to get it off.”
In addition to the chemical wash, a member of the grounds crew had to spend the better part of the day pressure washing the graffiti off the sidewalks and buildings, according to Prater. The cleanup in several different spots was extensive, Prater said.
The Physical Facilities department has requested that the university police increase patrols around FSB and Upham Hall in order to reduce the vandalism, according to Cody Powell, assistant vice president of operations in the physical facilities department.
“We’re hoping to mitigate the vandalism by stepping up police patrols since this is taking a lot of staff time and dollars,” Powell said.
Miami policy states that no advertisements of any kind are allowed to be written on university property, according to Powell. The physical facilities department is required to clear up any graffiti, even if it is a material like chalk, said Powell.
Despite the protests, Miami is looking forward to Rice’s visit, said Alan Oak, assistant dean for external relations in the Farmer School of Business.
“We’re aware of the (graffiti) activity and we encourage people to communicate constructively their points of view,” Oak said.
Rice is coming to Miami through the Anderson Distinguished Lecture Series, an endowment that has brought world leaders to Miami’s campus, Oak said.
“This is a great opportunity for Miami students to have a first person experience with a world leader,” Oak said.
Junior Matt Fitzgerald said he believes the protests may be students’ way of expressing frustration about events that took place during Rice’s time in office.
“I think it may be more frustration about the wars, the fact that we’ve spent so much money over there, it’s a growing discontent with the current political system,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said he can see why protesters vandalized FSB since that’s where Rice will be speaking, but he believes protesters could express dissatisfaction in more constructive ways.
Junior Rachel Petri agreed that, while protests are a completely acceptable way to express discontent, students could show disagreement with Rice’s policies in other ways. Students should use this as an opportunity to learn about Rice’s policies, according to Petri.
“Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of her policies I think that she’s somebody I can learn a lot from,” Petri said.