As sleepy students fumbled to class last Tuesday, they were greeted with the smile of a larger-than-life pony batting its lashes behind pointy pink glasses. Two days later, all that was left was the faint purple outline of its hair.
According to Stony Brook’s University Student Conduct Code, the washable majestic beasts are considered vandalism. On Thursday, Ground Maintenance used a power washer in an attempt to erase them.
The ponies around campus, four in all, are characters in the My Little Pony series. The most prominent of the four was Rarity, a fashion designer and seamstress, who was chalked on the side of the Staller Center near the Bookstore entrance. The other three ponies were Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie.
“When I went to Cornell they had chalk writing and drawings everywhere welcoming the new freshman class,” Stony Brook freshman Emma Glynn stated in response to the chalking. “It made it seem more friendly.” She also stated that she didn’t understand why they were such a problem, “It was obviously not meant to harm anybody.”
Although the chalk drawings seem
harmless, the University Police have been addressing them as vandalism in a very serious manner. The investigation is ongoing, and Campus Media Relations has said there has been no progress.
The Science Fiction Forum, who held a showing of The Last Unicorn on September 22 stated that the organization, “had nothing to do with the unicorns.” The Undergraduate Biochem Society, whose advertisement for its organization was chalked about 20 feet away from Rarity, did not respond to an inquiry as to their involvement in the situation.
The most surprising thing about the recent chalking is not the students’ enjoyment of the drawings, or the amount of talent they were drawn with, but the university’s response.
Several universities in New York have policies supporting chalking on campus, including SUNY Geneseo.
David Irwin, Geneseo’s media relations manager, stated, “There are no policies against chalking on the pavement, as long as it’s not in the building or on the building.” Irwin also stated that students are not required to obtain special permission to chalk. At Geneseo, chalking is usually used
to promote events or for fundraising, he said.
The situation is similar at Cornell University. Claudia Wheatley, director of Cornell’s Public Relations Office, stated that students were free to chalk around campus without permission. Wheatley also added that, “A week of regular weather, including rain, has to wash it away.”
While Cornell and Geneseo agree with their students’ asserted right to chalk, Binghamton University remains conservative with their policies.
Barbara Dickman, secretary of the residential life office at Binghamton, stated that very few groups are allowed to chalk throughout campus. “There’s a lengthy process for applying to use chalk on campus,” stated Dickman, adding that it is occasionally used for events such as homecoming.
So while the identity of the chalkers remains a mystery, the four ponies have not only highlighted our university’s strict policies, but also added a tone of comedy to the entire investigation as University Police work to power wash the all the color off campus.
Photo credit: Trevor Christian / Think Magazine