Editorial: Respect should be shown for Marshall Student Center

The Marshall Student Center just wouldn’t be complete without a few scuffs and scribbles on the wall and gum patches on its brand-new chairs.

At least, that’s what some students seem to think.

Barely two weeks after the new — and long-awaited — Marshall Student Center opened, Director Joe Synovec told the Oracle that the building is seeing unexpected damage.

Though the scuffs on the walls and chair marks reflect poor planning on behalf of the design team — they opted not to put a protective sealant on the walls because of the cost — writing on the walls and gum under chairs clearly do not.

Though it’s disconcerting that the architectural team didn’t think that a building serving more than 40,000 students wouldn’t show some wear and tear quicker than anywhere else on campus — and need better protection despite the cost — such an oversight doesn’t negate the fact that people have intentionally damaged it.

This center was in the works since 2003, when students approved a fee increase in order to finance the project. About $65 million in student fees went into this building so that students, staff, faculty and visitors to campus could enjoy and benefit from better amenities. It’s arguably the most state-of-the-art student center in the state of Florida.

A clear conclusion can’t be drawn as to why anyone — especially students — would intentionally desecrate this building.

Aside from being disrespectful, vandalizing or destroying property wastes the University’s time and money.

Such destruction is also irrational, given that evidence suggests it is students who are defacing the building. These students are effectively wasting their own and other students’ fees through sophomoric antics.

Student Government called on the student body last week to demonstrate school pride when top SG leaders asked the USF community not to step on the University seal, located on the first floor of the center.

Instead of being credited for trying to boost respect for the University, SG received a rash of harsh comments on the Oracle’s Web site.

The fact of the matter is that treating USF property appropriately is about respecting the University. It’s about respecting the money and the work that went into designing and building the new center. It’s about taking into consideration that others feel happy that a new center was built with them in mind.

It’s also about future USF students, who deserve not to be disgusted by the students who came before them. And it’s about the students who attended USF in 2003 — likely no longer here to enjoy the building their fees paid for — who felt that future generations — us — deserved a better center than the one built in 1959.

It would be a shame if our treatment of the Marshall Student Center proved otherwise.