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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

Graffiti found on ROTC poster

On the morning of April 18, a sign promoting UC Davis Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) was found vandalized with the slur “I have PTSD.” PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The sign, which encourages students to join the Davis program, is supposed to be brought in each evening and reposted the next morning. This was not done so on the night of April 17, according to Joe Miller, senior English major and member of ROTC, who found the sign that morning while waiting for class in the ROTC department.

“I was really disappointed,” Miller said. “I expect more out of the student body, especially considering the sensitive nature of PTSD, and the vandalism to other smaller organizations and groups in the past.”

In order to keep the issue to a minimum, the sign has been removed and will be reposted once the graffiti is taken off.

Miller said that this is not the first time the program has experienced vandalism in the last year. Nonetheless, most members were surprised.

“Students should bear in mind that there are fellow classmates and faculty who have served in the military, been deployed and been in combat,” he said. “To joke about PTSD is tragic because it destroys peoples’ lives and their families.”

Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, works with the community when events of vandalism occur on campus. He was unavailable for comment.

“Normally when vandalism is reported to Rahim or myself, we refer to the police department for investigation,” said Griselda Castro, assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs. “The police department will then determine whether the vandalism rises to the occasion of a hate crime.”

According to UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, no one reported the incident. Because it was not reported, there will be no follow-up by Reed or the university.

“At this point the act is not being considered a hate crime, rather distasteful humor,” said Joseph A. Harvey, department head of the UC Davis ROTC program.

Army ROTC, which is an elective program that students may take alongside their regular courses, aims to provide members with the physical training, tools and experiences needed to help them succeed in any competitive environment.

Miller said the program has 54 UC Davis members in addition to participants from California State University, Sacramento.

“There is already a huge stigma around PTSD and making fun of it isn’t going to help people understand what it really is and how it affects people,” Miller said.

RACHEL LEVY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


  1. Like Gremlin, I am a veteran who doesn’t agree with much of what goes on with US foreign policy, but unlike certain students here, I do not go around vandalizing property or harassing those who feel different. Because I’m adult who is accepting of others and their beliefs, not someone who claims to be accepting of others…as long as they are like me.

    Our political party affiliations, our service, our religions, or who we chose to have indiscriminate sex with is all something we chose to do ourselves for a variety of reasons, with a variety of outcomes, and absolutely no one on this campus deserves to have those outcomes, no matter who disasterous, ridiculed.

    But unlike Gremlin, I have no faith in the UC Davis student body that I once gladly embraced because of their openness and acceptance. I believe nothing will come from this but these few comments. And on June 12the when I walk across the stage with disgust at this administration’s lack of action, I will gladly leave Davis and this university. I’ve made great friends here and that is all.

    And for the vandals: Only a coward sneaks up in the night to vandalize a sign. An adult, or man, would go up to the ROTC door, knock, and tell them face to face. You, obviously, are a coward. My name is Patrick Graham, try looking me up, I have a door too.

  2. We claim to be a school that upholds the ideas of open-mindedness and freedom of speech. That is why we as a university provide forums to discuss ideas openly without resorting to vandalism.

    I will not point out the obvious: PTSD is a very real, serious issue to many of us who are veterans or friends of veterans. Writing something like this on a wall is not political, it is a hate-crime. Nobody would write “I have AIDs” on the wall of the LGBT sign. It is just as reprehensible.

    Politics are beside the point on this issue. As a combat vet myself, I do not support the war. That is not the point. Everyone deserves the basic respect and dignity to not be maligned for their psychological problems.

    If whoever vandalized the sign still feels the need to do this sort of thing, I would refer them to the Westboro Baptist movement. I hear they are experience in this sort of thing.

    I call on the UC administrators and the decent student body to come together and condemn this action and tell the world that we at UCD are a tolerant, educated group who welcomes all creeds.

  3. Um way to blame the soldiers you asshats. Most of the men and women who sign up to serve do so because they believe in this country and what is was founded upon, even if they don’t believe in the current elected officials. They do it because they know that in order for things to get better in the future there has to continue to be an US today.

    Trust me I hate on the government and our unconstitutional wars more than most, but don’t slam the soldiers. Especially when a lot of these kids do it to afford school.

    Unless of course you want to continue being asshats, in which case I hope a day comes when you do need a soldier and don’t have one.


  4. There is an easy way to avoid PTSD: don’t enlist and end up in countries on the other end of the world inflicting indiscriminate violence upon the populace. There are other ways to live that don’t involve harming yourself and others.

  5. PTSD may be serious and real, but for military combatants, it is elective, especially in the case of imperialistic causes such as the United States’ questionable need to control others’ resources and cultures. I’m not sure what drives potential soldiers to fight under this banner, but perhaps their might and tenacity would be better spent on domestic issues and civilian causes. Let’s fix problems here rather than ship off to foreign lands for unclear reasons. What have we, as American citizens here in our own country, gained from the haphazard killing (including civilians and children) in places such as Afghanistan?


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