Bathroom Graffiti 
In the fall of 1988, tensions with lesbian and feminist communities came to a head, resulting in heightened incidences of harassment, sexual harassment, graffiti, and vandalism. Individual students were harassed because of their sexual orientation, Gay People's Alliance flyers were torn down, and overall tensions were expressed with competing homophobic and homophile graffiti in the last stall of the Campus Center women's bathroom. These actions, including and especially the harmful graffiti, were largely ignored by the administration.
One night, a group of students decided to take the matter into their own hands, covering the entire Campus Center women's bathroom in pro-lesbian and -feminist graffiti. Where the graffiti was previously limited to one wall of one stall in the bathroom, this new graffiti covered the entire bathroom. Swept up in the moment, the students repeated the treatment in the Campus Center men's bathroom and the Thomas Hall women's bathroom.
"It really spoke to the mood on campus, that there was that much tension and anger that it just exploded," said Deb Rowan, Class of 1990, in an interview.
The college administration reacted by painting over the graffiti in the dead of night. The painters included President Mary Patterson McPherson, Dean Karen Tidmarsh, and SGA President (and out lesbian) Linda Friedrich. Friedrich struck a deal with the administration; she would help paint if they would document and archive the graffiti and hold a town hall meeting to discuss the situation which had precipitated thusly.
The resulting community uproar is discussed further on the Town Hall Meeting page.
I was unable to find any photographs of the graffiti in the Bryn Mawr College archives. The photographs accompanying this page were donated by an alumna, and depict plans for the graffiti and some of the actual graffiti.
|Previous page on path||Physical Space, page 4 of 4||Path end, return home|