Student Art Installation Mistaken for Vandalism and Taken Down at UC Davis

A poster from
A poster from "One University, One Debt" exhibition before it was removed by campus grounds crew.

An art installation by art history students at the University of California, Davis, protesting the rising tuition costs and the growing problem of student debt at the school was mistaken for vandalism by the school grounds crew and removed from the campus. The installation was titled “One University, One Debt,” parodying the school’s “One World, One UC Davis” marketing campaign, which was launched in fall 2013 to the tune of US$81,249. The student group argues that the reality for many Davis graduates is not the sort of uplifting success story publicized by the administration, but crippling student debt.

The group installed banners across campus directing viewers to explore the issue at onedebt.info. A statement on the site argues that student loans are “almost no longer an investment, but a decade-long or even lifetime burden.” Although the administration has been supportive of the initiative, calling it a positive forum for discussion, an uninformed grounds crew removed the guerrilla banner interventions hours after they were put up. Official university policy prohibits the posting of any type of signage on the campus. The students were allowed to retrieve the posters from the grounds superintendent, and are hoping to come to an arrangement so that the work can be displayed again.


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