Not all Penn traditions will help you make honor roll.
The Benjamin Franklin statue next to the Compass on Locust Walk, nicknamed “Ben on The Bench” by University curators, is subject to one of Penn’s oldest and messiest traditions — public urination.
Since the beginning of the fall semester, six people were cited for urinating near the location of the statue, and others who’ve taken part have managed to subvert police suspicion.
According to one student, he and his drunk friends happened upon the iconic Penn statue after a frat party freshman year when they decided to pee on it.
“I had done it a few times before,” said the student. But this time was different — campus security caught them in the act, and one of his friends was cited for public urination.
Despite how Penn tradition may make it seem, urinating on Franklin isn’t always a relieving experience. A student caught by police will be cited and forced to pay a fine of $50 within eight days. If the student decides to fight the case instead, the fine could rise to $300. Students could receive further punishment once the Office of Student Conduct is notified by police.
Unfortunately for the vandals who flee the scenes of their crimes, public urinators could still be held accountable if they’re caught on Penn’s cameras, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.
Public urination is a continuing problem on campus, both on the Franklin statue and elsewhere. Upticks occur during heavy drinking periods on campus, including New Student Orientation and Homecoming, Rush said. Though the University does not record the specific number of incidents on the statue itself, 43 cases of public urination occurred campus-wide last year.
Consequences extend to Penn’s maintenance staff as well. The Office of the Curator is only required to clean the statue once a year, but frequent urination has resulted in frequent upkeep. “We have someone that we call whenever these sorts of incidents occur,” said Heather Moqtaderi , University art collection manager.Comments powered by Disqus
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