April Fools: Single-gender sidewalk policy to be enforced by Public Safety

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April Fools: Single-gender sidewalk policy to be enforced by Public Safety

Unruly BJU students push acceptable limits by walking barely out of arm's reach. There is barely any observable room for the Spirit here. Photo: Heath Ledger

This article contains fictional content. Happy April Fools’ Day!

Beginning April 5, Public Safety will begin posting officers at key positions along the sidewalks leading to the residence halls in an effort to better enforce single-gender-only walkway policies regarding these sidewalks.

This decision followed a rejected proposal last year to paint the sidewalks blue and pink, which was denied over concerns the paint would be damaged by frequent rain showers. The purpose of both proposals is to revive BJU’s sidewalk policy by providing a constant reminder to students of which sidewalks fall under the rule.

The sidewalk policy, known colloquially as “pink and blue sidewalks,” states certain walkways are restricted for students of a certain gender. The sidewalks surrounding the residence halls, in particular, make up the majority of these gendered sidewalks.

The rule has become more difficult to enforce in recent years, partially due to a lack of awareness on the part of the student body. The page containing the rule was absent from the student handbook from 2015 to 2020, after an error led to its omission from the PDF file. Other rules similarly left out included guidelines on permissible ties for chapel and prohibitions on socks when worn with certain styles of shoe. This mistake follows a 2013 error that led to the sidewalk in front of Gaston being listed as a blue sidewalk, causing brief chaos during the first week of the fall semester that year. Fortunately, the issue was resolved after several freshmen injured themselves trying to jump over the sidewalk, leading to the discovery of the error.

Unruly BJU students push acceptable limits by walking barely out of arm’s reach. There is barely any observable room for the Spirit here. Photo: Heath Ledger

The student response to the announcement has been mixed. Within hours of being reminded of the policy’s existence, students began forming unofficial organizations to proclaim either their support for or disapproval of the policy. The largest of these organizations, the Coalition Against Pink Sidewalks, claims to have amassed over 150 members in under 24 hours. Many supporters of the policy have joined either the Coalition of Men Against the Coalition Against Pink Sidewalks or the Coalition of Women in Favor of the Coalition of Men Against the Coalition Against Pink Sidewalks.

Members of CAPS have begun wearing custom light purple baseball hats made by Upstate Hats and Bats to symbolize the integrated sidewalks. As a response, members of CMACAPS and CWFCMACAPS have begun wearing blue and pink caps, also manufactured by Upstate Hats and Bats.

“I’m just glad we are having this debate now instead of kicking it further down the road,” said Alison Wonderland, a senior pyramid scheme major, founder of CAPS and owner of Upstate Hats and Bats. “I just wish more students would voice their opinions for either side, especially with the caps. I feel like the caps are one of the best ways to publicly show support, and students should definitely buy more of them.”

According to Wonderland, CAPS is planning a forum in Levinson Hall on April 5. “We are planning on it being until curfew, but we fully expect to be shut down pretty quickly,” Wonderland said. “Now that I think about it, getting shut down might be preferable for publicity reasons. But we’re hoping we can at least get some hat sales in, in order to benefit the cause, of course. What’s this for again?”

According to a spokesperson for Public Safety, the additional enforcement of the sidewalk policy is expected to continue until deemed no longer necessary.