Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Don’t break an exit sign.

Sláinte Mhath! The leprechaun and pot of gold have adorned our masthead, which means it must be St. Natty’s Fratty’s Spatty’s Paddy’s Day!  And this isn’t just any old Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s a Saturday. It’s pretty nice out. Spring break is around the corner. Odds are that some people reading this post are going to drink, and one (or more) of them is going to take his/her anger out on an exit sign.

This, of course, would not be an isolated incident . You’ve all at least witnessed (or have taken part in) the notorious freshman pastime of celebrating newfound freedom by obliterating a public safety device. No matter where you go (at least in Keeney), you probably will find an exit sign in some state of disrepair. Dean Richard Bova, head of ResLife, says “we probably lose 75 or more” exit signs per year, “the bulk of them in Keeney.” Even if there’s no good way to know for certain what the motive was for each incident, let’s just say most well-adjusted human beings don’t run down the hall of Bronson 2nd floor clobbering every single exit sign with a broomstick on a Tuesday morning after drinking 14 cans of Fanta Grape.

Bova says no.

Now, to dispel some rumors. Though there are some whispers that the cost to replace an exit sign can be as much as $700 — if true, this would probably explain the tuition hikes — Bova insists the expense is much less: “it depends… for example… sometimes it’s just the face-plate that is broken, sometimes it’s the housing that is broken, sometimes it’s the entire unit. They do come in multiple parts and pieces. [It can cost] anywhere between $37 and $150 depending on labor and if they rip and cut the wires or anything like that.” In addition, despite the urban legend that no exit sign outside the V-Dub or Archibald Lounge survives for more than a month in its home, Dean Bova says “there is no favorite” exit sign for late-night destruction.

To remedy the exit sign-breaking pandemic — although Dean Bova is not considering strategically placing decoy objects in Keeney for late-night revelers’ enjoyment — he has explored the possibility of using “lower profile” signs that “don’t protrude as far” and make less obvious targets (read: it’s time to work on your standing vertical jump). There is only so much to be done on this front, however, because of course “safety is the primary concern” with placing these exit signs, which would probably explain why so few have been moved from their current locations. We suggest the glass replacements below as a possible deterrent. EMS calls might rise in the immediate aftermath, but hopefully students will not respond to the change by purchasing chainsaws or other heavy machinery.

A St. Patrick's Day-themed exit sign!

As for an alternative use of students’ time, Bova urges: “Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Behave yourself. Control yourself.” Or maybe study for your midterms. Great advice for St. Party’s Day. Rage (but don’t take it out on the exit signs)!

Image via.


  1. Lily

    Reading a book called “disenchanted night” by Wolfgang schivelbusch and I quote: “whatever the details and methods, smashing lanterns was obviously an extremely enjoyable activity… Destroying lanterns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offered the additional satisfaction of symbolically unseating the authority they represented: the darkness that prevailed after the lanterns had gone out stood for disorder and freedom.”

    Sooo… Smashing keeney signs has precedence in revolutionary era France

  2. Will Janover (Author)

    i will buy one blue room beverage (preferably on the weekend) for whomever can tell me how many exit signs got broken last night and give me photographic proof

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