I wish to express my thanks and heartfelt congratulations to the students who put up the anonymous, happy Post-It notes on Thursday morning, Oct. 25. On the day the weather turned cold and dreary and toward the end of a hard and busy week, it was a joy to come into the office and encounter the brightly colored Post-Its on doors and hallway walls. In my building they led up the formidable Plumb Hall stairs, calling out encouragements such as: You sparkle! You are strong! You’re amazing! Have a great day!
I heard that some of these anonymous spreaders-of-good-cheer received criticism because the messages had not been sanctioned by a university authority and because they created a (minor) clean-up for staff. I understand the university view. I understand the need for public institutions to protect against wrongful actions or hurtful speech by requiring all university citizens to submit their actions and words to approval processes.
Yet I also remember a time when college campuses bristled with postings of events of all type, with public performances, with open debate and even, yes, protest. I worry that our public desire for safety creates a homogeneity that has quelled some of the creativity and vibrancy that college life and public discourse itself is supposed to be about.
I am heartened by the spirit of the anonymous Post-It students, who gave of their time to perform such a random, small act of kindness. And, I find it inexpressibly sad that ours are times in which such gestures would be read as wrongful, or so quickly erased.
Amy Sage Webb, Professor of English