It’s a good thing Charlie Crawford retired when he did. Because he may not have been able to handle this past weekend.
Crawford was Auburn’s Superintendent of Landscaping, the man in charge of things like removing toilet paper from campus, for several, several years. From what we’ve been told and what we’ve read, he seems to have appreciated the rolling Toomer’s Corner for zero of them.
However, few things better illustrate the true evolution of rolling Toomer’s Corner than Crawford’s negativity, which first went on the record in the early days of the tradition, back when a Plainsman story about it (or at very least related to it) didn’t even include a single mention of the word “tradition,” but did include the word “prank”… in the headline. Because despite everything you’ve heard that, that’s what rolling Toomer’s was, that’s how it began—as a prank, as good spirited, Who Cares, Auburn Won vandalism, not as a sacrament.
From the Nov. 15, 1979 issue of the Auburn Plainsman:
Toilet paper. Hardly an earthshaking topic until you consider how much time and money Auburn University spends on toilet paper weekly.
Charlie Crawford, grounds foreman, stated that on a ‘typical’ Monday, he has to send a crew to clean up the toilet paper strewn all over campus. This normally involves about 10 men and two large trucks.
Crawford said he believe this cost around $200 plus the use of the trucks. In addition to the direct cost to clean up the mess Crawford has to take these men off their regular jobs, which delay needed reparis and projects around campus.
There is another aspect to the problem. Floyd Thompson of Building Service said that every weekend Haley Center, Parker Hall, Dunstan Hall and a a number of other buildings on campus are stripped of their toilet paper.
On Halloween night Campus Security caught four men rolling some of the dorm areas. They had already thrown a large quantity and had a large amount remaining. According to Thompson it was probably University paper.
Crawford said “Last week (this was likely the aftermath of Auburn’s 19-13 home win over Florida, which kind of contradicts that whole thing about the corner only ever being rolled after away games) was the worst I had ever seen.” Since the city has put the wires at Toomer’s underground, the campus has been receiving more toilet paper than in past years, he said.
Crawford added that the city is responsible for cleaning up the area except that which blows or is thrown past the sidewalk on Magnolia and College.
Crawford approximated the weekly labor cost to the University for its clean-up efforts is $600. He added that some of the removal work was hazardous in nature, because in order to remove the paper from the upper limbs he has to have a man climb into trees.
Crawford said it is frustrating to pay a man “four dollars an hour to poke at toilet paper with a stick.” In a time of level funding, it is clearly wasteful to have to use up needed funds in order to keep the campus beautiful.
He was still lobbying to end rolling Toomer’s in 1997. Think about Saturday. Now think about that.
Auburn work crews started cleaning up the results of the final rolling of the Toomer’s Oaks at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, working through the night. They’ll begin removing the rest of the toilet paper from the oaks today at 6:30 p.m. in order to have them toilet paper free by the time work crews begin cutting them down Tuesday morning.
More on the the Toomer’s Oaks: That tree in the old picture of Toomer’s Corner is not one of the Toomer’s Oaks / Toomer’s Corner rollings didn’t start with Punt, Bama, Punt, says History / Did Auburn students celebrate Bear Bryant’s death by rolling Toomer’s Corner?
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