Hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars go into cleaning the graffiti plastered all over the bathroom walls and stalls on campus.
According to Preston Harris, the custodian and receiving supervisor, American River College spends between $5,000-$10,000 cleaning up restroom vandalism each semester.
“I would like to see young men and women, as well as old men and women, become an active part of taking care of the facilities,” said Harris. “We spend a lot of money of graffiti. A lot.”
Harris said he wishes students took more pride in their school.
“When the facilities are free of a lot of graffiti and markings they tend to look better,” he said. “People tend to have a different perception, (the facilities) tend to smell better and overall, (people) tend to treat them better.”
Harris, a former ARC student himself, said that graffiti has always been an issue on campus, but over the last few semesters he has seen it increase, especially in the women’s restrooms.
“We don’t mind cleaning, and it’s a lot easier to clean rather than when we are trying to remove graffiti, remove paint. Those kind of things tend to slow us down,” he said.
He also believes keeping bathrooms clean and graffiti-free increases the overall safety on campus.
“It makes people feel a little bit safer when they go to a place that’s well kept,” he said. “So it helps with the security, the safety and also it fosters a better learning environment.”
Bisi Makinde, a nursing student, was a victim of graffiti in her own home when her fence was tagged.
Makinde believes people who write on stalls “have too much time on their hands,” and while some may view it as being artistic, she personally does not like it.
“You shouldn’t be painting on someone else’s wall,” Makinde said. “That cost me a lot of money to have that paint removed.”
Harris hopes the campus expansion will inspire students to have enough pride and respect to refrain from expressing themselves in the bathroom stalls.