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Author Topic: Just told we were not approved.  (Read 12412 times)
phillysurvivor


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« on: September 16, 2010, 05:56:57 PM »

Hi,

After 2 months of planning this game with support from the office of campus activities, the residence halls, the campus activities board, and the school newspaper, I got an email from our assistant dean of campus engagement saying that the event had not been approved by risk management. I met with him to discuss his issues and he told me he would bring them to risk management. Three day later, today, I got the following email.

Below their email is the reply I'm planning on sending to them. Is there anything I should edit or add? I want to keep it short so that I can better explain in person.

Quote
In discussing your points with the Office of Risk Management and other staff, the same points we discussed in the meeting earlier this week, it has been decided not to approve the Humans vs. Zombies event. Although I do understand your commitment and dedication in organizing an event to possibly create a new tradition at Drexel, to build community among the campus and to give students an opportunity to participate in something unique; I support the decision that this event has too many risks associated with it to allow it to happen, specifically the four points that we discussed.

We still feel that students running around Drexel’s urban campus with nerf guns wearing bandanas is not safe and could be detrimental to the reputation of the University should someone not involved with the game be hit by a nerf gun. Furthermore, I am very frustrated with the fact that this event was being advertised (with the attached posters) when the event was still going through the approval process.

Again, I do appreciate your enthusiasm for creating a sense of tradition at Drexel and all the hard work expended thus far in planning this event. Based on the potential of the many things that could go wrong with this event, I cannot in good faith let this event go forward.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

And my response...

Quote
I understand your concerns and those of the Office of Risk Management and other staff. At first glance, I too hesitated to spend my summer and that of the dozen people working with me on it to organize a game on campus that could potentially hurt someone or the campus reputation. I researched this game in great depth for a week before deciding to move forward.

As for the advertisements, I am sure you were just as upset to see me putting them up as I was to take them down. I appreciate you understanding our miscommunication, and I postponed advertising as soon as we cleared that up.

Would it be possible to meet with the Office of Risk Management to discuss this in person?

As you requested, I got in touch with an organizer from a city school. Ohio State University hosted a game with about 400 players and 3 major Columbus roads running through campus which presented safety issues for large groups of people. They did not include those roads in the game's boundaries. Regarding non-students walking through the campus, I'll quote him verbatim:

"Ohio State tends to have a very large number of non-students on it any given time. As such, interactions with non students were bound to happen quite frequently. We did not expect how well received it would be by others. No one ever seemed afraid to ask us what we were doing (a group of college students tend to look a little ridiculous with big yellow and orange toys) and none of our players minded explaining the game. Everyone (as far as I have heard) who was told about the game seemed to appreciate the value of college kids running around and having fun."

Sincerely,

Thanks for your help!
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Last Defender
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The Bearded One

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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 04:34:52 AM »

The schools that claim "risk" and don't allow HvZ to take place because of the activities involved (Tagging, nerf guns, bandana's, possible disruption, etc") are, in my opinion, overacting anti-fun idiots.

I use this term with full seriousness. While safety is important (and should be), schools seem to think that they shouldn't allow HvZ because of the "risk" involved. Despite the fact that HvZ has been played at large schools and has been a success is not taken into consideration (granted, not all schools are the same but still) it seems. It is frustrating and I'm sorry your school has taken this approach to shut you down.

At BSU, we have never really had a problem with non-players (except the almost guaranteed frat jackassery). If a non-player enters the playing area, our players stop play and let them pass. There is never any incident and I have not heard any complaints about it (sans one obnoxious article, but that is beside the point).

TL:DR - Sounds like your school is over analyzing the situation.

Out of curiosity, what were the "4 points" he mentioned?
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GO SLAUGHTERHOUSE - The most hardcore Penn State group. We fought all day and endured!
phillysurvivor


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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 09:41:55 AM »

I think it's just a gut reaction because it's something new. He didn't seem to really understand what a nerf gun was (probably imagined an aerosoft war) though he seemed to understand better when I showed a picture. I still believe I can get it approved if I can meet with them to tackle risks. Just a shame that their reaction is to shut down the event rather than ask me to come in and better explain.

Here was the previous email exchange where we discussed the 4 points and my responces.

Quote
Thanks for meeting with me yesterday.  Per our conversation, I have set-up a meeting with you and John for next Thursday, September 9 at 5:30pm in his office.  To further articulate the points we discussed yesterday and that John will review, please see below:
 
·         That the bandanas resemble a gang-likeness
·         The risk of participants running across busy, dangerous streets
·         The concern of guns and that Drexel has a strict gun policy
·         That non-Drexel students may be at risk because of the use of guns and/or participants running into them as they pass through campus
 
I failed to mention one last concern, that most Humans vs. Zombies games are held on suburban campuses, not an urban campus like Drexel.
 
Thanks and best,

And my responce:

Quote
As we discussed, we can limit the boundaries of the game to be from Powelton to Market, plus the quad/main building area. Market and Chestnut street sidewalks and streets would be safe areas and off limits for the game.

Enclosed is a picture of the Nerf gun as requested.

Take Care,
 
Bandanas: No-one is more concerned about image and protecting non-players than we are as moderators and organizers of Drexel's HvZ. Players wear bandanas to clearly and simply mark them as involved in the game. Human players wear the bandana on their arms; zombies wear them on their heads. This way, there won't be confusion about who is in the game, and non-players will not be accidentally tagged or nerfed.
 
Additionally, the bandanas will be orange with a clear zombie logo on them. Orange is not a gang color: http://www.scribd.com/doc/29817/Gang-Awareness-Guide . Orange is commonly used as the color of halloween and the color for yielding and warning signs. It was picked to be most immediately visible and nonthreatening, so players and nonplayers alike can recognize the distinction.
 
On Running Across Busy Streets: I understand this concern is of particular note to Drexel as it is an urban campus with many busy intersecting streets. Crosswalks will be marked as safe areas so students in chase do not have to endanger themselves or others in order to enjoy the game. The safe areas and rules will be well explained during the training sessions before the game starts so that players can remain safe.
 
On Guns: Drexel's policy prohibits any lethal or dangerous devices. They also prohibit realistic facsimiles of weapons. The Nerf Guns are explicitly designed to resemble toys, not guns. Any painting or mechanization of the guns are strictly prohibited by HvZ guidelines and players caught with realistic looking guns will be banned from the game.
Weapons Policy - http://www.drexel.edu/publicsafety/police/policing/
No student, faculty, staff or visitor shall keep, use, possess, display or transport any rifles, shotguns, handguns, pellet or BB guns, dangerous knives, billy clubs, makeshift weapons, martial arts weapons, or any other lethal or dangerous devices capable of casting a projectile by air, gas, explosion, or mechanical means on any property or in any building owned or operated by the University, or in any vehicle on campus. The only exception to this policy pertains to the Drexel University Police Department and other recognized law enforcement officials. Realistic facsimiles of weapons are also specifically not allowed.
On Non-Players: In game players are clearly identified by the orange bandanas, so there is no excuse for attacking or involving a non-player. Doing so is a reportable action that will get that player banned. The most likely scenario is non-players will notice the humans and zombies across campus all around them, and it will be an entertaining change of pace while walking to and from campus. Dorms, the Cafeteria, and classrooms are additional safe areas. This means that no human vs zombie activity takes place in those areas, and no non-player will be distracted from academics due to HvZ. Lastly, even if a non-player happens to get hit by a nerf gun or sock, it will be at worst a minor annoyance as nerf darts are meant to be nonharmful. In this worst case scenario, the offending player would be banned and we would personally apologize to the nonplayer, if they so desired. If you desire, we can send out a notice informing everyone that there will be people with nerf guns on campus that week so no one is alarmed.
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legoexpo
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Destroyer of Worlds

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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 11:00:51 AM »

there are plenty of schools that play in an Urban Setting.

Penn State has one of the larger games and is smack dab in the middle of the city if i remember correctly.
Eastern Michigan is a commuter school in the middle of Flint, Michigan, one of the most dangerous cities to be in and they had a SAFE and FUN game.
FSU is in the middle of Tallahassee and they play great games as well.

as for the guns bit, start calling them nerf BLASTERS. it's what we did to reinforce the idea that they're toys, not weapons.

Bandannas, make them bright pink if orange is such a problem. theres NO gang that would wear bright pink bands anywhere. I think another school already did this and it worked.

and i'm stoked to see Drexel trying to get an HvZ game going
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supermidget


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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 02:42:56 PM »

We did pink bandannas during our first fail-game.  It was originally going to be a full game, with blasters and red bandannas (Red is our school color), but then the Grounds Use Committee got wind of the game, and banned both in a meeting with our mods.  We switched to pink bandannas and used Nerf balls (for some reason, they banned socks too), and only about 50 people played, out of the 230ish who registered.  Morale took a pretty big blow, and we didn't play the following Spring.  Then I became a mod, so I could help out and get us a proper game.

But yeah, Texas Tech did pink bandannas.  Personally, I think pink is kind of a gender-specific color.  If they shoot down red bandannas this year, our alternative will be lime green.  Gender-neutral, easy to see, and not gang-related.
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Last Defender
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The Bearded One

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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 05:30:58 PM »

We did pink bandannas during our first fail-game.  It was originally going to be a full game, with blasters and red bandannas (Red is our school color), but then the Grounds Use Committee got wind of the game, and banned both in a meeting with our mods.  We switched to pink bandannas and used Nerf balls (for some reason, they banned socks too), and only about 50 people played, out of the 230ish who registered.  Morale took a pretty big blow, and we didn't play the following Spring.  Then I became a mod, so I could help out and get us a proper game.

But yeah, Texas Tech did pink bandannas.  Personally, I think pink is kind of a gender-specific color.  If they shoot down red bandannas this year, our alternative will be lime green.  Gender-neutral, easy to see, and not gang-related.

BSU uses lime-green to denote players. Cheesy It's a great color to use.
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GO SLAUGHTERHOUSE - The most hardcore Penn State group. We fought all day and endured!
MaxTemkin
* Administrator

One (1) Longshot Tall

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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2010, 11:06:33 AM »

Hey Drexel friends. Can someone (phillysurvivor) give me a call today to discuss this? You can reach me at (847) 337-2163.
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ritHvZack
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Eveyone has HvZ in them, some just dont know it.

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2010, 08:53:45 AM »

way to go phillysurvivor.  Your arguments are very articulate and to the point.  They dont stand a chance.
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Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
-John Quincy Adams
phillysurvivor


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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 12:23:15 PM »

So after 6 days of the assistant dean not replying, I sent a followup email requesting to meet with the involved parties - office of risk management, him, and the contact I've been working with. He finally replied 8 days since my initial request to set up a meeting to discuss. He still refuses to even meet for more information, making it extremely difficult to work with administration in any respect.

I know there are administrators who support the event, including the dean of students. But they have not been involved with discussion.

My plan is to walk into the assistant dean's office Monday morning, do my best to set up a meeting in person. If he refuses, I will try to meet (barring that, email) the dean of students for his support, just to set up a meeting with risk management. It's their primary responsibility to encourage student participation, thus the assistant dean's refusal is bad policy.

If I am still unable to meet with them, as advised by Max, I will organize the event much smaller, without Drexel support.

Below is his followup response:

Quote
My apologies for just getting back to this email.

A joint decision has been made on this event (involving the Office of Risk Management, Public Safety and Campus Activities) which  is supported by the Office of the Sr Vice President for Student Life and Administrative Services. If this event is still going to be involving one of the following:  using nerf guns, bandanas and having students running around campus with potentiality of someone getting hit by an object (not involved with the event) and/or someone getting hit by a car (when trying to get away from getting hit by an object); the decision is not going to be changed.

Again, I appreciate your determination in organizing this event, but I cannot in good faith support it with the risks associated and the items we have already discussed

Thanks
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Ozymandias
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I met a survivor from Zombieland...

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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 02:59:39 PM »

Gather all your support together from the get-go. Make sure everybody knows who is backing you.
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Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

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TheOtherTaylor


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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 03:33:00 AM »

Should your discussions have not gone well, I am so sorry for you that you can no longer play Frisbee on your campus either as it may cause someone uninvolved with the Frisbee throwing to be hit by "an object" or to recklessly fling themselves into traffic to avoid being hit by "an object."  One must also be careful while carrying stacks of paper as one gust of the wind could send an entire street of people leaping to their untimely demise at the hands of a passing bus.

(As much as I'd love to see it done, don't use the above as an argument.  The administration will not appreciate the sarcastic tone.)
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Dinosaurchestra
* Game Organizer


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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 12:06:18 PM »

I feel like we were in the same boat as you guys at one point, although our office of risk management handled it differently - they decided to treat us the same way that they would treat a group of 5 people who decided to get together and play ultimate frisbee on the spur of the moment - as if we had no University affiliation and were just "a bunch of people having fun". This alleviated the University from any liability, as they had never officially approved our game. Granted, we lost some potential benefits, like funding, down the road, but all in all it allowed us to run our game the way we wanted, still working with people outside the risk management department to make sure everything was safe and well-planned from the University's standpoint.

It might help you to drum up a player contract having people say they understand that your game isn't approved by or affiliated with your University and they won't hold the University liable. Risk management should be able to help you make it all proper and such. If not, like you said, they aren't really doing their jobs.

We can't use orange at OSU, because it's one of our school colours, and would end up getting a lot of non-players tagged. In the past we've used lime green, neon yellow, neon blue and hot pink. Orange isn't a gang colour, which I think you already proved to them. So yeah... I wish you all the luck in the world with this battle. Hopefully they take the sticks out of their you-know-where.
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Last Defender
* Game Organizer

The Bearded One

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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2010, 05:36:02 PM »

I wonder if the administration realizes how many other schools play HvZ without issue.

They are essentially being overprotective and anti-fun. I cannot see, by any stretch of the imagination, how their argument holds up at all. With that logic, as mentioned before, ultimate frisbee and other outside events would be banned.

Ugh, sorry they are being so against you guys.
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GO SLAUGHTERHOUSE - The most hardcore Penn State group. We fought all day and endured!
Richard


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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2010, 07:15:53 PM »

Bring several people with you when you go to see them. If they see how many want to do it it may change their minds.
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MaxTemkin
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One (1) Longshot Tall

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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2010, 03:49:34 PM »

I feel like we were in the same boat as you guys at one point, although our office of risk management handled it differently - they decided to treat us the same way that they would treat a group of 5 people who decided to get together and play ultimate frisbee on the spur of the moment - as if we had no University affiliation and were just "a bunch of people having fun". This alleviated the University from any liability, as they had never officially approved our game. Granted, we lost some potential benefits, like funding, down the road, but all in all it allowed us to run our game the way we wanted, still working with people outside the risk management department to make sure everything was safe and well-planned from the University's standpoint.

This is a great suggestion.
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