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Saturday, March 25, 2017

‘Chalking’ policy to undergo revision

A popular form of promotion for campus organizations could face changes after incident

A chalk drawing on the wall next to the OtterDen
Photo: Mike Cirelli / Otterbein360

Otterbein University’s policy for “chalking” the campus is under revision after local band “That Summer Feeling” was asked to remove its chalk advertising on campus buildings on Monday.

The chalking policy is now being reassessed by Student Affairs as a result of the incident.

A considered change is requiring students to get permission before they chalk campus. Up until now, permission for chalking has not been necessary.

Band members Steven Profitt, Andrew Zidar, Derek Rassmussen and Zach Earhart, an Otterbein student, chalked buildings around campus on Sunday night to promote their radio interview on 97.5 WOBN FM and their upcoming performance at the A&R Music Bar in Columbus this Friday night.

“We’re a pop-punk band,” Zidar, the vocalist for the group, said. “We just write our music and live and play just like when we were kids.”

Earhart, a junior music business major and one of the band’s guitarists, said that chalking was a way of promoting the band.

The chalk messages appeared in a variety of places around campus, including the side of the library and the science building.

“We didn’t really think anything of it while we were chalking. We figured since it was chalk, it would wash off, like no big deal,” Earhart said.

The next day, the advertisement caught many students’ attention. “I had never seen anyone post on the side of the library before. That was interesting,” Melinda Lackey, senior equine pre-vet major, said.

Sophomore equine business management and art major Liza Wilensky said, “I had never seen anybody who wasn’t a campus organization posting on campus.”

The posts also caught the eye of Jennifer Bechtold, director for the Center for Student Involvement. Bechtold asked the band to clean up the chalk on the buildings.

Zidar said, “wiping chalk off the buildings is completely acceptable by my standards, and I am perfectly happy to do that.”

In an email interview, Bechtold said most students were respectful of chalking on surfaces that could be washed away by the rain.

“I had concerns that this group chose to chalk not only on the ground, but on the sides of the buildings around campus including the Campus Center, Towers and the library,” she said.

Lorraine Martin, administrative assistant for Student Affairs, said that as the policy stands, students can chalk the ground outside, but not the buildings, doors, windows or columns.

Zidar said that the band was not aware of Otterbein’s chalking policy.

“We’ve seen chalk around the school before for OCF (and things) like event stuff around campus and we’re like, ‘Why don’t we do that?’” he said.

Caroline Wagner, sophomore nursing major, said it’s not just the band that goes overboard posting things around campus.

“The only thing that bugs me is when they chalk the benches and you sit down and you get chalk on your butt,” Wagner said. “I think that everything on campus is excessive with their posting, so I don’t think you should pinpoint the band. It’s everything and everyone.”

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