With temperatures close to freezing on a semi-regular basis, the last place students want to be is outside.
But come the end of March, the return of spring typically brings out crowds in droves to soak in the sun, play a quick game of pick-up soccer or even just spread a blanket on the lawn to practice guitar.
Except this year.
On Jan. 10, the Office of Communications sent out a campus-wide email explaining new additions to the Bruin Guide Code of Conduct that prohibits a variety of activities from taking place on the lawns. Students are no longer allowed wear cleats, hold organized sports practices or games, hang hammocks/slacklines or place a tarp/ground covering over any portion of the lawns on campus including the Lawn, South Lawn and North Lawn.
Technically, the vagueness of the new additions to the Bruin Guide (page 65) leave a lot of wiggle room for interpretation. If taken to the extreme, laying a blanket down on the lawn for an afternoon picnic could violate the new rules as a tarp or ground covering.
Before you pack up your Norts and contribute to America’s growing obesity problem, the lawn will still be available for “light active recreation such as Frisbee, jogging or passing a ball.”
And this isn’t the first time the university has placed stipulations on the use of the lawn. Earlier this school year students may remember the erection of a sign that forbade the wearing of cleats on the lawn.
This all seems a bit ridiculous to me.
Grass is not fragile. And, surprise, it grows back easily. So easily, it is generally cut early in the morning, as if blasting wasn’t enough of an alarm. But the real question is why is administration so concerned about the state of a lawn that was formerly a Division I soccer field that someone in administration had to take the time to draft up rules about its use?
I understand that this is an attempt to maintain the meticulously sculpted landscape and postcard-esque image Belmont can paint in the vibrant spring months. And the administration is right, the grass on the lawn last semester didn’t look as pristine as other patches of grass on campus did, but the abundance of replacement tulips more than made up for it.
I don’t see how this plays into what the community wants. Or how this helps “students organize themselves to pursue their interests and ambitions,” especially if those interests happen to be the Quidditch team that is without a field for practice and games and has now been denied the biggest advertisement for the club: an easily accessible student audience.
And Quidditch is not the only one to suffer. Essentially all club teams at Belmont have been chopped down with an ax disguised as an addition to the Bruin Guide.
By taking away the field, the university has taken away the very tradition it was trying to protect. Without even asking the students if this is what they wanted.
Yes, the field took a slight beating from heavier use in the past. But restricting the use of the field to light games of catch is not the answer.
Otherwise, the university might want to look into a new catchphrase.
I think “from here to anywhere … as long as there is a sidewalk” has a nice ring to it.