Letter to the Editor September 28

Dominic Gatti

Dear Fellow Kent Staters:

I was rightfully shocked and disturbed by last week’s article on graffiti as a nuisance. For a minute there, I thought I was going to school in Oxford, Cambridge or Ole Miss. But even Boston and New Haven (home of Yale) have graffiti art gracing their barren concrete over/underpasses. Then I remembered: I am still (stuck) in Ohio — the greatest police state I have ever seen both inside and outside the continent.

Kent, the alternative to Ohio State and Akron remains a Northeast Ohio Liberal haven because of its history, tradition, popular character and political charge, not to mention its flavor! Kent is a colorful place filled with inspiration and raw energy, yet it is one of the most over-policed, conspiratorially restricted and regulated communities I have ever witnessed. Where do we draw the line? Why are “we” now cracking down on graffiti, along with everything else, when it does nothing more than give artists, students and street kids a peaceful outlet, which makes the city look more “real,” urban and true? We cannot ‘fight’ graffiti unless we admit that it is yet another backward initiative to lock up Liberals, strangle “Freedom of Speech” and generate money for the authorities. To call it anything else is a lie. And Kent, tagged up as it is, graffiti and all, is true: Truly a place where young people chose to come to school because it has raw flavor. We cannot white-power-wash the entire city and make an Acorn Alley or Risman Plaza out of it. If we continue to do so, all we will lose is our authenticity, which is what makes Kent uniquely great.

Let the writers write and the painters paint.

Dominic Gatti

Liberal Studies Graduate Student