Decorative signage mimicking old-fashioned advertisements in The Cellar were removed the last week of January after a student said the displays were offensive.

One student had complained about the signage to The Cellar, wrote Melissa Comstock, cafe manager of The Cellar, in an email on Feb. 5. Comstock did not say when this student gave this criticism.

“When someone mentioned that they were offended by the language on the sign, I spoke with our Director/Assistant Director and the decision was made to remove the signs,” Comstock wrote. “We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable in our space.”

The Collegian emailed Comstock on Jan. 28 requesting an interview with Comstock about the signs, which still were on display on Jan. 28. Comstock wrote on Jan. 29 that the decor had been removed from The Cellar walls. 

The signage has been up since The Cellar opened in 1995, Comstock wrote in her Feb. 5 email. Some students have expressed that they are not happy the signs were removed, she wrote.

“The signs were a trend in the 90's and created a fun décor at that time,” Comstock wrote. “The signs were meant to be funny as most were real advertisements for real products many years ago.”

A Cellar employee, who spoke with The Collegian on the condition of anonymity, said the signage did not reflect The Cellar’s atmosphere nor did the employee know anyone to be offended by the signs. 

“The Cellar is supposed to be old time-y, but they are generally just weird signs,” the employee said. “One of them is about hemorrhage cream. That is a really weird sign to have in a restaurant. The signs don’t pertain to food and them being on the wall is really random.”

The employee said there were other decorations that better reflected the space. 

“There are also old photos of the Richmond campus and there is also an article of when the Spiders won the football championship,” the employee said said. “They also repainted the wall and put up The Cellar logo.”

Senior Gabe Thomas said he was not bothered by the signs but could see why someone would be. Thomas specifically referenced the sign that said, "Beware of pickpockets and loose women."

Jocelyn Grzeszczak

A now-removed sign in The Cellar reads, "Beware pickpockets and loose women." The sign was removed in late January after The Cellar received reports that certain signs were offensive. 

“Some of them are a little controversial and can seem a little dated,” Thomas said. “If you look at loose women as in property, then yeah, that could seem bothersome. It’s a dumb joke.”   

Contact international editor Olivia Diaz at olivia.diaz@richmond.edu.