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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Banner bandits strike again

Two of 45 No. 1 banners are left

The remnants of a top 5 banner is seen on Buckman Drive on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.
The remnants of a top 5 banner is seen on Buckman Drive on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

Despite UF’s best efforts to curb the theft of “#1 public university” banners, 43 of 45 banners have been stolen since Friday.

UF Spokesperson Cynthia Roldan confirmed the number of stolen banners in a statement.

“While we share the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the rankings and the banners, we do not condone their theft,” Roldan wrote. “Not only is it expensive to make and replace the banners, but it is also dangerous to climb the poles to tear them down.”

Production and installation costs up to $190 per banner, according to the statement.

UF is “exploring [its] options” for holding the thieves accountable, Roldan wrote.

“In collaboration with the UF Bookstore, we are aiming to have banners and other merchandise available for purchase next week,” Roldan wrote. “However, it is unlikely that we will replace the stolen ones.”

Banners were installed Friday to celebrate UF’s top spot in the Wall Street Journal’s 2024 Best U.S. Colleges rankings.

Similar instances of banner theft occurred in 2021 after UF earned Top 5 public university status in the U.S News & World Report Best College rankings. Forty of 75 Top 5 banners were stolen across campus. When UF maintained its spot in 2022 rankings, 14 of 19 Top 5 banners were stolen.

A video posted to Barstool Sports Saturday depicted one instance of No. 1 banner theft. 

“Can’t have sh*t in Gainesville,” one commenter wrote.

UF released two videos over the weekend that announced the hanging of the No. 1 banners and attempted to warn students against stealing them. One video depicted two UF facilities workers, Shane and Trevor, who are tasked with figuring out a way to prevent banner theft. 

After much deliberation, the duo found their solution — leaving pink sticky notes on poles that read: “Dear student, we’re asking that you do the right thing and choose to buy your banner from the bookstore.” 

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Shane and Trevor expressed disappointment about the failure of their plan in a statement to The Alligator.

“Again?” they wrote.

Contact Garrett at Follow him on Twitter @garrettshanley.

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Garrett Shanley

Garrett Shanley is a fourth-year journalism major and the Summer 2024 university editor for The Alligator. Outside of the newsroom, you can find him watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and talking to his house plants.

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