Sidewalk chalking remains unregulated


Jana L. Haas & Kara Christensen

The paper parade marches on this year, leaving dozens of posters, fliers and announcements in its wake.

Not to be outdone, chalk scribblers have announced events, meetings and opinions on sidewalks, especially at well-traveled spots.

After going to class every day for over two months, most students and faculty have noticed the popularity of posters and chalk.

What they may not know, however, is who says what can be posted or printed.

SDSU does not currently have written regulations for sidewalk chalk as long as the advertisements are campus-appropriate.

“So far I haven’t seen anyone put derogatory things on the sidewalks, so it hasn’t been a problem,” Nick Wendell, UPC Publicity and Graphics coordinator, said.

The University Program Council hangs posters and uses sidewalk chalk to advertise all of its major events.

Wendell said the focus is to get the information out at all high traffic areas.

These include the residence halls, the Rotunda Building, and the University Student Union, he said.

All posters on campus must be approved at Information Exchange, located in the University Student Union.

Though SDSU remains devoid of sidewalk chalking regulations, other universities have adopted them or considered doing so because of concern that university walkways could become areas for negative writing or drawings.

Some regulations limit the chalking area. Others require people to get a permit before writing on the sidewalk.

Posters, on the other hand, must meet SDSU regulations.

To be approved and stamped, all posters advertising events or services must be open to the SDSU community and have an English translation of anything in another language.

Posters must show sponsorship by a SDSU department, office, college or a SDSU-recognized student organization.

The posters cannot have any promotion of alcohol or other drugs, explicit sexual material, or ads that compete with Dining Services or the university bookstore.

Regardless of the regulation, a bigger question might be whether the posters and chalk are effective.

Some students simply ignore them.

“I never look at the chalk,” Andy Erpenbach, a freshman from Sioux Falls, said. “I don’t even look at the walls.”

Tim Wrenn, a freshman from Grand Forks, Minn., said he only looks if he’s interested. He said using side walk chalk shouldn’t necessarily be regulated.

“If it gets out of hand,” he siad. “I mean, right now, it’s basically informative.”