Some things are irresistible for thrill-seeking college students. Like, for instance, the giant metal ball-on-a-string pendulum sculpture on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
Sure, the giant steel ball hanging on 15 feet of steel cable outside the Seymour and Esther Padnos Hall of Science has been there for 18 years. And yeah, occasionally a frisky freshman, little sister, or upperclassman might climb aboard for an illicit ride and photo op.
But when a bunch of students started getting their swing on recently — including at least one nude one — in homage to Miley Cyrus' hammer-licking, swinging "Wrecking Ball" video? Campus administrators decided they had to take action.
We want our ball(s) back! @Grand_Valley17— Tony Levy (@TLeaves119) September 18, 2013
"We've been reviewing this over the last couple of weeks, trying to decide whether we really need to look at structural integrity of the installation," Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president of facilities services at GVSU said in an interview explaining why the sculpture was taken down on Tuesday morning and put into storage. Thimmesch said authorities were worried about the extra weight students and visitors were putting on the sculpture and whether the anchors holding it in place would hold.
The move came after at least one student posted a Vine (since removed) of his naked ride. Thimmesch said the pranks have "give us a few chuckles," but, well, safety first.
Several hundred students reportedly turned out Tuesday to protest the removal, with many taking to the ball's official Twitter account to complain about the action. "School traditions shouldn't die because a few people act like morons," tweeted Scott Hillier. "@GVSUwreckingbal #ReinstallTheBall."
One student started selling $10 wrecking ball t-shirts for a charity and another tried to start a movement to get Cyrus, who stars in the October 2 MTV documentary, "Miley: The Movement," to be the guest of honor at the school's homecoming celebration.