Stop scratching the Ts

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

I’m walking around campus. The sun’s rays are warming my skin, and the sound of birds fluttering in the trees above me fills my ears. 

As I walk, I see someone running late to their class, a group of friends sitting and laughing and maybe even a good friend of mine is by my side. 

Campus is alive. The weather is nice. Life is good. 

And then I see it — or don’t see it. As I turn to enter Whitaker, I read the sign by the door that says “Whi_aker,” and my blood boils. The “T” is missing, not because the Institute forgot to add it, but because someone took a coin and roughly scratched out the “T,” leaving behind the evidence of a murder. This scar haunts almost every single sign on campus. No doubt a student, or a group of students, wanting to follow the hallowed tradition of stealing the “T.”

But scratching out the “T” on signs around campus comes nowhere close to doing the tradition justice. All this does is add an expensive eye-sore all throughout campus. 

The Institute has tried to fix this by switching to engraved signs, one of which can be seen at Brittain. 

However, even this effort has failed. Someone caulked the “Ts” on that sign giving the impression that they’ve been stolen, which, is arguably even uglier than the scratches, as it is entirely dependent on the quality of the caulking job. 

What makes scratching the “T’s” off different from stealing the “T” on Tech Tower? 

So much. Stealing the “T” off of Tech Tower illustrates a Tech student’s creativity, resilience and adaptability. 

The student has to overcome a variety of different obstacles to steal the “T.” When accomplished, the empty spot on the Tower demonstrates to the world that Tech students are among the brightest and most dedicated students. 

When returning the “T,” the students went above and beyond the call of duty, having a helicopter drop it off and leaving it on the doorstep of the President’s mansion. 

Scratching a “T” off of a sign, however, takes one minute and a coin. 

It requires no pre-planning, no adaptability and certainly no creativity. 

It broadcasts to the person walking by the signs that someone took the time to vandalize a sign their tuition money paid for. 

When a potential student goes for a tour around campus, one of the first things they notice is the scars on every sign, and they think to themselves “if this school doesn’t spend money on fixing their signs, what do they spend their money on?” 

Tour guides are taught to deflect when the question is brought up, and Reck Club doesn’t mention the stealing of the “T” anymore. 

No one wins when someone scratches off a “T.” 

Obviously, the ugliness leaves its mark on campus, but also the perpetrator gains what? 

One, maybe two minutes of joy from a “job well done”? 

By virtue of the crime, they can’t broadcast their name because GTPD will fine them or the Provost can expel them.

So the eternal see-saw battle continues. Someone scratches the “T” off of a sign, Tech spends the money to fix it, and the student comes back to defile it once again. It’s a vicious cycle. 

There is no point in scratching off a “T.” It is not “following tradition.” 

It is vandalism, ugly to look at and an insult to the tradition. 

It is, in fact, a dying tradition. 

With the advanced security measures taken by the Institute to protect Tech Tower, students have resorted to signs. 

By ruining a sign, you waste your own tuition money that went into paying for it. You deface Tech’s beautiful campus. 

And, perhaps most importantly, you make me extremely upset.