University enforces chalking, publicity policies

Lauren Caruba , Assistant Campus Editor

Be careful where you chalk.

After issues last year with students using semi-permanent chalk on various parts of campus, Northwestern’s Norris Center for Student Involvement is now strictly enforcing its rules for publicizing campus events by fining groups who violate University policy.

The use of spray chalk toward the end of last year by Associated Student Government election candidates and moving company BoxCo. became problematic when some of the supposedly impermanent chalk did not actually wash off. Groups will now be fined the full cost of cleanup if their ads cannot be easily removed with water, said Natalie Furlett, associate director of CSI.

CSI will also monitor more closely where on campus students advertise. According to NU’s advertisement policy, students are allowed to chalk and tape flyers in eight “advertising zones” across campus, including the stretch of sidewalk from The Arch to The Rock and the walkway leading up to the Norris Student Center. The areas in front of Deering Library and the Technological Institute remain off-limits, as does the sidewalk along Sheridan Road.

Although the advertising zones and most of the rules regarding publicizing events have not changed much, the University has signaled a shift in its intentions to begin penalizing violators.

“The biggest change this year is enforcement,” Furlett said. “A lot of the stuff that we’re enforcing is stuff that’s already on the books.”

This year, Furlett said, she plans on communicating more with students about where they can chalk and place flyers. For the past week she has been emailing students who have placed flyers under the overhang of the Jacobs Center. The advertising zone in that area extends from Sheridan Road to the overhang but not underneath it.

Former Daily columnist Steven Monacelli, a Communication senior, and running mate Kam Dodge, a SESP senior, used spray chalk last spring to spread their ASG campaign logo across campus. Although they used what was supposed to be washable chalk, it did not come off every type of concrete across campus and was “much more permanent than it was ever intended to be,” Monacelli said. Their logo is still visible in some areas.

Monacelli and Dodge also campaigned on the Sheridan Road sidewalk, which is usually off-limits. Monacelli said University publicity guidelines have not been communicated well in the past.

The gray area of publicizing on Sheridan Road has caused problems for NU student organizations in the past. In January, Evanston Police cited the political group Sincerely, America for defacement of city property after students painted an orange stripe for a half-mile along the eastern sidewalk. The group had been petitioning against Evanston’s so-called “brothel law,”The Daily previously reported.

Members of Sincerely, America, which is currently inactive on campus, declined to comment on last year’s incident.

CSI’s communications with students regarding the University’s publicity policy has caused some groups to alter their approach to campus publicity.

Alex Onsager, co-CEO of NU Student Holdings, which owns BoxCo., said the group recently began testing different types of spray chalk to ensure they will wash off. BoxCo. will contact CSI and share with other groups what brand of chalk is most effective, the Weinberg senior said.