Replicas of the Guy Fawkes mask have made appearances on University and city landmarks over the last three weeks.
Students and faculty entering the east side of Faculty Hall may notice two masks near their feet. Another decal of the mask is centered in the “O” of the words “Occupy Freedom” graffitied on the side of Shear Lunacy hair salon.
It is unknown who is responsible for the masks nor what the motives behind it are.
Guy Fawkes was an Englishman who led protests to bring down the British monarchy and attempted to bomb the British Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605.
The mask was dominant in the film “V for Vendetta” in which the protagonist known only as “V” begins a violent campaign similar to that of Fawkes.
Murray Mayor Bill Wells said no one should be putting anything on any building that does not belong to them.
The Guy Fawkes masks have been associated with the Occupy protests in cities such as New York and Oakland, Calif.
Murray State’s own Occupy related group, The Murray Students for Progress has been active, holding teach-in sessions to inform students about the necessity of protests.
M.S.P. members have denied responsibility for the masks.
Scott Byrd, professor of sociology, said there are a number of things the mask could represent.
“In my opinion, the masks from the movie, on one hand, have come to symbolize generalized resistance to power, whether that be to political, economic or elite power in the U.S.,” Byrd said.
David Pizzo, assistant professor of history, said people have been using street art to express their issues with politics for a long time.
“I think street art has a way of influencing politics and vice versa,” Pizzo said.
Pizzo said the mask represents a resistance to government jurisdiction.
“Essentially it asserts the same things that were asserted in the movie,” Pizzo said. “Essentially there are puppet masters controlling us and it is a way of taking back control.”
Movements such as the mask decals and talks of Occupy Murray protests are long over due, he said.
“Today’s problems will be the problems the future generation will have to deal with,” Pizzo said. “Ultimately politicians over look younger people, unless they make them take notice.”
He said anything that gets students involved politically is a good thing.
“I think it’s good for young people to shake the politicians and wake them up,” he said.
Pizzo said it takes time to see gratification come from the movements students are trying to start.
“I would like to see the people involved with this sustain this pressure and make it move forward,” he said. “The problems being addressed are not going away.”
Martin Battle, assistant professor of political science, said the masks could represent the uncertainty people feel toward the economy.
“There is a large amount of fear in America,” Battle said. “People are losing their homes and students are more in debt than ever.”
Battle said the masks are a way to unify problems people have with government.
“Masks are important because it makes a symbolic representation about everyone,” he said.
Battle said movements like Occupy Wall Street have caught the imagination of students and it is not surprising they would get involved.
“I can understand why students would be upset with lots of things going on,” he said. “I think the University does take into account what students think.”
He said unfortunately there is only so much the University can do to agree with students.
“Administration often have different long term goals than students,” he said. “I think the University has done a good job with things like keeping tuition down.”
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said protesting is a good way for students to get their voices heard.
“Certainly one thing college campuses are known for is activism,” Robertson said. “That is part of the life of a college campus, which in all honesty, has not been present as much as it has been in the past.”