In a larger sense, it isn’t about rolling the quad with toilet paper, is it? In response to an OGB editorial taking us to task for raising the issue, we would like to offer several observations. As we can see on the national level, we get farther in solving problems when we engage them on the merits rather than ad hominem. We are here in a community — some for four years, some for a professional lifetime; there is a sacred, even transcendent, quality to our time together. We owe it to each other to take our concerns seriously and to engage them (and one another) with candor and good will.The process is always more important than the product because it is in the process that we define and enact our values.
Back to the quad briefly. The notion that the toilet paper deteriorates quickly stands in stark contrast to the material still to be found in branches or wrapped around limbs. Surely there are issues of forestry and ecology here but aesthetics is in play as well. What do visitors and prospective students make of our quaint customs? Where does litter — intentional or otherwise — fit into a campus so shaped around natural beauty and humane values? At the very least, until full-scale change comes, shouldn’t we be offsetting the harm here with some sort of philanthropic effort?
Wake Forest has a laudable history of adapting to (and sometimes even leading) cultural progress: women in the student body, racial integration, dancing on campus. At some point, perhaps very soon, Wake Forest students will decide that rolling the quad no longer represents their environmental ethic or their aspirations for their university. We would welcome a student-led effort to craft another, more satisfying celebratory ritual. In the meantime, let’s keep talking in the spirit of Pro Humanitate.
Sincerely, Professors Randall Rogan and John Llewellyn, Department of Communication