Posted September 26, 2011 Atlanta, GA
Stealing the T from Tech Tower has long been heralded as a Yellow Jacket tradition, but some students are upset to see that tradition take a twist on campus.
“The problem with stealing T’s started a couple of years ago from occasional spots on campus. In the last six months or so it has escalated, it’s all over campus, and there are no T’s anywhere,” said Elle Creel, president of the undergraduate Student Government Association (SGA).
Creel is referring to the disappearance of the letter “T” from signage across campus. The trend spans from metal T’s attached to exterior walls of buildings, to vinyl adhesive T’s affixed to dorm and bus stop signs.
SGA is encouraging students to assume the role of keepers of Tech tradition throughout this week with a campaign to “Keep the T in Tech.”
“The tradition is only the Tech Tower T,” said Creel. “Stealing any other T on campus is manipulating the tradition.” According to the 2011-12 T-Book, “the specific T to be stolen [from Tech Tower] is the one facing the I-75/85 highway … However, contrary to popular belief, this tradition does not include stealing T’s from around campus and execution thereof will result in disciplinary action.”
Wednesday, students are invited to “relive the real tradition” at 8:30 p.m. by the steam engine on Cherry Street, next to Tech Tower, though SGA is not disclosing the details on how this will take place; Creel said it will be “a chance to see the true tradition with your own eyes.” Students are also being offered amnesty on Wednesday for any past thefts, a transgression that would normally land them in the Office of Student Integrity. Instead, they may bring any stolen T’s to Tech Walk between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., where they will be collected in the Ramblin’ Wreck.
SGA will devote the open forum of its weekly Tuesday meeting, at 7 p.m. in room 117 of the Flag Building, to discussion of this campus issue. Students also may voice their opinions by signing an electronic pledge to “Keep the T in Tech” at sga.gatech.edu/t. Signatures will be collected through Wednesday and will be published in Friday’s Technique. Thursday, Tech Walk will be home to a craft station where students can decorate and keep a replica T of their own.
"Publishing names in the Technique will be a good visual and public display of support," said Armina Khwaja, a business administration major. "It says a lot more than just having events and not having concrete evidence that a lot of people support this."
Creel acknowledged that they won't change campus culture in one week, but that they want to make it clear to students that stealing T's is detrimental to campus and is punishable by the Office of Student Integrity if caught.
“The idea of stealing the Tech Tower T is cool, but stealing any T is not the tradition,” Creel said. “From our perspective, it’s about pride on campus, and we want campus to reflect the pride we have in Georgia Tech.”
"People who believe in tradition also love this school, and one wouldn't vandalize the school if they love it ... students need to voice their concern for the issue to other students," said Alex Lober, a third-year environmental engineering major and peer leader in campus housing. "I'm taking my [residents] to the event on Wednesday night because it will be a fun and extremely influential event."