Some question placement, aesthetics of new statue
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 02:04
Sophomore Debbie Zandi and senior Garrett Jenkins were sitting in the sun on the new statue in Mentors’ Circle Friday afternoon until a university police officer asked them climb down.
Zandi said she thought students were allowed to sit on the statue, as depicted in computer renderings of the statue prior to its placement, and was surprised when the officer told her otherwise.
“Without being a place to nap, it’s utterly useless,” Zandi said.
The “Wings of Thought” sculpture, revealed April 9, is an 8-by-10 foot, 27,000-pound granite sculpture of an open book and a bronze quill. It is located in the center of Mentors’ Circle, between Hullihen Hall, Memorial Hall and Morris Library.
Zandi said she thinks the statue looks unfinished and childish. She said she gives the university credit for its effort, but likes the other aesthetic elements of Mentors’ Circle more than the book, such as the engraving that bears the location’s name.
Junior Morgan Wilder said she was upset that school administrators made a significant change to the campus’ appearance without first consulting the student body. She said she doesn’t like the symbols engraved on the open pages of the book, which pay tribute to a chemical reaction discovered by chemistry professor Richard Heck that earned him a Nobel Prize in 2010.
“I’d rather have a blank slate, or the UD logo, or the school fight song or something,” Wilder said.
Junior Martha-Raye Adjei said the statue disrupts the flow of the walkway and prevents students from performing the Mentors’ Circle “duck-clap,” a sound effect created when a person stands directly in the center of the circle and claps their hands.
Adjei said the statue is a target for graffiti.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone tags it,” Adjei said. “I would hate to see what someone will do to it.”
Senior Madeleine Wright said she also thinks the statue will be vandalized, especially during weekends. She suspects students might write or urinate on it and has heard other seniors say they are adding defacement of the sculpture to their “bucket list” before graduation.
University police Chief Patrick Ogden said only one incident has been reported since the statue was revealed. Someone attempted to skateboard on the book’s pages, which caused a few scratches in the granite, but Ogden thinks the person was not intentionally trying to damage to the sculpture.
He said university police increase patrol around construction sites on campus, and officers will be guarding the new sculpture through foot and bicycle patrols and monitor it on surveillance video.
“There’s a camera in that general area that we monitor in our dispatch center,” Ogden said.
He said officers are not worried about increased crime involving the statue in Mentors’ Circle because it is well-lit and highly trafficked.
“Generally, these graffiti artists try to go somewhere not well-lit at night to do their work,” Ogden said.
Many students, such as junior Sam Zbik, are not concerned with students vandalizing the statue but are concerned with the university officials’ decision to use donated funds to build it.
Although Zbik said the sculpture does not directly affect her while travelling on campus, she thinks the money used to construct it could have been utilized elsewhere on campus.
“Clean up all the beer cans instead if you want to beautify the campus,” Zbik said.
Wright said she thinks the money could have been used to improve the appearance of Morris Library, and wishes the university had not spent funds on an “unnecessary statue.”
“As a senior, I’ve always liked Mentors’ Circle for what it was,” she said.