An unknown individual removed the Forum Wall from its position at the southeast entrance of Beamer Center on Tuesday morning.
The cork board hosted student conversation, Wheaton-related jokes and various advertisements. Students continued to write on the wall where the board used to be — some lamented its disappearance and some offered their conspirative explanations.
By early afternoon on Tuesday, a large photo of Jesus stood in place of the cork board, accompanied by a piece of paper reading, “Now Death, where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you DEFEATED!”
The Forum Wall also disappeared about four years ago, according to dean for student engagement Steve Ivester, who is responsible for ongoing operations in Beamer Center.
Ivester told The Record that the school waited about three months until they replaced the cork board. In the meantime, students wrote on the wall where the board used to stand, which Ivester said is a practice that can erode the drywall.
Student body president and senior Josh Fort and said he would urge all students who want to write on the wall to use sticky notes or paper with sticky tack in the meantime.
At the same time, Ivester hesitated to label any writing on the wall as vandalism because of the “nature of that space” as a place where the freedom of speech is embraced.
Fort told The Record that he thinks that the prank “inherently removes something that has value rather than adding value to the wider Wheaton community.” The Forum Wall has existed for more than 40 years, according to Ivester, and was originally located in the Memorial Student Center until Beamer Center’s construction.
““While I admire their ability to pull off the prank,” Fort said, “I would encourage them to think about the theology of pranks that Dr. Ryken shared during the Town Hall Chapel earlier this semester, in which he explained the pranks are best done when they are done to the glory of God … With that theology of pranks in mind, I would encourage them to return the Forum Wall posthaste.”
Ivester claimed that the college did not initiate the removal of the Forum Wall and has began an informal investigation into who was responsible.
The cork board, according to https://thewheatonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/IMG_0048.webpistrative estimates, cost upwards of $100, because it was a custom-made board that conformed to the unique curvature of the wall behind it.
Fort said, “We will attempt to investigate short terms solutions to the loss of the forum wall, even as the college discusses the possibility of acquiring a more permanent replacement.