Liberty’s Latest Banana Tradition Leaves Students Split

Should students reap the fruit of their actions or will Mr. Rot continue giving grace?

What started as a practical joke has evolved into a “tradition” that is spiraling out of control.

In Convocation last Friday, Oct. 19, Liberty Dining Services District Manager Duke Davis implored students (not for the first time) to stop throwing bananas on the roof of the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall.

According to Davis’ Twitter, if the shenanigans do not stop, the ROT’s supply of bananas will.

This “tradition” started last year and led to the installation of a surveillance camera and the removal of bananas from the ROT menu. Then social media exploded with students’ pleas for Davis to bring the bananas back.

“There were athletes calling me, saying they were cramping at night because they couldn’t get potassium,” Davis told The Liberty Champion last October. “I didn’t want to punish students because of, maybe, five people.”

But students’ recent efforts to keep the banana-tossing “tradition” alive are forcing Davis to reconsider, and for good reason. If Davis’ graciousness is only going to be met with unappreciation and tantalization, why should he continue to turn the other cheek? It may be biblical, but so is respect for authority and accountability for behavior. Not to mention the Golden Rule.

To remove any doubt, traditions are not wrong. They are beautiful, unifying things that promote camaraderie and the creation of legacies. However, there are ways to establish them that do not involve tossing fresh produce onto rooftops.

To be frank, it is neither trendy, cool nor heroic. It is a waste of resources, an expression of ingratitude and blatantly disrespectful toward property and authority.

Which begs the question: why do students feel the need to partake in such a ritual?

When someone asked The Flaming Bugle why students were throwing bananas on the roof last year, the Bugle responded with a few possible reasons:

  • “They’re so mindlessly consumed by entertainment culture that they’ve lost any sense of virtue like respect, thoughtfulness or prudence.”
  • “The students are so individualistic that they can’t even comprehend that someone else has to clean up after them.”
  • “They are uncultured to the point that they have no idea that there are places in this world where food is so scarce that they would be physically harmed for doing something so wasteful.”

While these comments are a bit brash, there may be some truth to these arguments.

Modern society is saturated with entertainment culture. People consume it because, well, it’s entertaining. Who doesn’t love a good Vine? However, a lot of people – young adults in particular – find themselves doing things “for the ‘gram” and the sake of a few likes, a retweet and five minutes of infamy.

Another probability is perhaps, because most of them have their tuition and meal plans covered by their parents and financial aid, these students are oblivious to the fact that bananas actually cost money.

According to the article from last October, Davis orders 25 crates of bananas every day, each one costing $50. Add in the cost of work orders for maintenance workers to clean off the roof and it becomes an expensive “tradition.”

“These young people don’t understand how much money they’re making me waste,” Davis told The Champion.

While it probably seemed harmless and fun at first, the banana-throwing prank is a much larger issue than it should be. Everyone is paddling in the same boat, trying to navigate the foreign and choppy waters of young adulthood and responsibility through trial-and-error. That’s understandable. But what’s wrong with throwing bananas on the roof is a conversation that should not even need to occur.

In the words of The Flaming Bugle, “Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t justify the blatant wasting of food, the degradation of property and the effort needed to get them off the roof.”

But the threats and moral quandries have not stopped banana-lovers from getting creative.

Just this morning a series of giant inflatable bananas appeared on the roof. With the inflatables is a sign asking “who is @LUBananaVandal?” which links to an instagram page of a masked man in a banana suit, challenging Davis.

Now only time will tell if this is a clever solution, or if the banana scatterers have slipped up.

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