I can’t tell you who placed duct tape over the mouths of 11 Wichita State sculptures last week. Simply put, I don’t know who’s behind this operation.
Wichita State University Police are investigating the situation at this time. I can’t promise they’ll ever find enough evidence to close the case. In fact, it’d be ridiculous for anyone to step forward and take ownership of the situation.
There was no indication that We The Students is the culprit of what UPD has classified as “criminal damage on property.” Yet, if you read on the situation last week, you read coverage of an activist group We The Students.
Last Monday, We The Students published a discouraged post concerning the removal of more than 200 signs — roughly 30 of these signs taped Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture were identified in a picture published in the post.
By Friday morning, duct tape had been placed on 11 sculptures. Ulrich Museum of Art Director Bob Workman said he believed the incident Monday was related to the duct-taping incident. Workman further expressed that he learned of the damage to the “LOVE” sculpture after locating We The Students’ post on Facebook.
This was Workman’s claim. Other WSU administrators echoed Workman’s assumption.
To date, we are still without a definitive answer to who actually is behind the taping.
In Monday’s issue of The Sunflower, an author penned a letter to the editor criticizing my “assumptions” with the matter.
“It seemed you must have forgotten that tape over people’s mouths representing forced silence is a pretty universal symbol, not an invention of We The Students as your conclusion suggests,” the author wrote.
In May, members of We The Students appeared outside the Student Government Association’s offices to protest an incident of Student Body President Paige Hungate; they wore duct tape on their mouths to symbolize how marginalized students felt they had been silenced.
As correctly stated by the author, this is not the first use of this method — and therefore, to pinpoint We The Students as the culprit for this incident solely based on this example would be a crime. There’s simply not enough evidence to name anyone.
As a journalist I’m not here to support accusations, but I will state the claims.