Safety Isn’t Always a Breeze

Student Government rails on limiting vehicle use on the Breezeway and puts safety awareness in gear.


Student Government house speaker Christopher Ferreira stops two students to discuss the Breezeway Safety Campaign and explains possible consequences of violating the rules of the Breezeway Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Student Government wants you to “Stop and Walk” under the Breezeway Safety Campaign, a proposal led by the House of Representatives in collaboration with FAU Police Department.

The purpose of the Breezeway Safety Campaign is to raise awareness about and enforce the school policy of limiting the use of bicycles, skateboards, golf carts, scooters and roller skates within the Breezeway.

Max Jackson | Photo Editor
A student disregards policy down the breezeway despite Student Government’s efforts to end breezeway violations with the Breezeway Safety Campaign Max Jackson | Photo Editor

FAU policy states that the use of bicycles, skateboards, skates and scooters are not permitted on the Breezeway or other covered walkway areas.

The penalties for violations include that devices used for recreational activity or otherwise in violation of this policy may be subject to confiscation by the University Police. Also, students may be subject to student disciplinary proceedings.

“The main thing that we want to get across is that you can actually be held responsible for violating the policy,” said SG House Speaker Christopher Ferreira, who authored and sponsored the bill to purchase materials for the campaign.

Campaign efforts consisted of setting up tables with posters, banners, promotional cards and creating a presence on the Breezeway. SG members employed multiple tactics to prevent people from riding along the Breezeway, including using social media like Twitter and Facebook, handing out information to pedestrians, verbal reprimands and even physically stepping in the path of those on longboards or bicycles.

“I understand [why] people like it—it’s a smooth ride—but I mean, a lot of people get hit,” said House Member Alexa Pressoir. “That happens to a lot of people, so it’s something that should be enforced.”

SG members held out posters showcasing the alternative routes students can take instead of the Breezeway. Others handed out promotional items along with tent cards displaying the policy.

During these sessions, SG members relied on social peer pressure by shouting out “policy breakers”—or “violators”—whenever they saw students riding on the Breezeway.

“I couldn’t tell you how many times we shouted but it was quite a lot. When we started doing that, shouting ‘violators’ at them, other tables started joining in,” said Ferreira.

The campaign’s original timeline was set from Aug. 18 until Sept. 12, according to Ferreira. However, the actual start date was Aug. 28 due to campaign materials, from the branding and merchandising company Wizard Creations, arriving later than scheduled.

The campaign materials consisted of poster board designs, tent cards and apparel, totaling in a budget of $4,012.40 — nearly double the allocated amount of $2,650 during its early stages.

Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Senior marne biology major Brandon Patterson disregards the rules and bikes down the Breezeway Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Campus Action Chair Juliana Walters worked closely with Ferreira over the summer to apply the Breezeway rules, working with the Student Code of Conduct board and the FAU Police Department, based on the wants and the needs of the student body. Walters found it was a common issue among students.

“I kinda [just] knew from being a student myself—first semester or two semesters—that people in general just hated all of the skateboarders and bicyclists on the Breezeway,” said Walters. “It was a safety concern because it shuts people out and puts them in fear almost.”

Walters also expressed concern over the safety of individuals with disabilities, and the trouble of enforcing policy when reports of incidents are not made.

“You can only hope that people understand that it puts others in danger, for example there are people with certain disabilities who are at danger, because of the skateboard use on the Breezeway.”

House Member Alexa Pressoir was proactive in the campaign after sharing similar stories.

[House Member Alexa Pressoir]
[House Member Alexa Pressoir]

To prove her point, Pressoir jumped in front of students during campaign sessions on their bicycles or boards before handing them tent cards with the policies on the back.

Junior communication major Wilson Malek admitted to the UP that he rides his longboard every so often despite knowing the rules in the Breezeway.

When asked if he had ever hit another student when riding on the Breezeway, Malek responded confidently. “No, I haven’t because I’m not bad at riding this. I’ve tripped over myself though, not on the Breezeway—never.”

Other students, like freshman graphic design major Ben Rosenthal, told the UP that under certain conditions he might ride on the Breezeway.

“I usually don’t ride it on the Breezeway,” said Rosenthal. “Unless it’s really empty early in the morning or at evening.”

Even Pressoir revealed to the UP that she would ride on the Breezeway before becoming proactive in the campaign.

“I’ll admit it, I was guilty of riding on the Breezeway,” disclosed Pressoir, “but then after [that], I stopped so I haven’t for a long time, but the littlest of things can stop you.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 4.51.01 PM
[Juliana Walters, Campus Action Chair]

“Something else we want to add on is getting the organizations that table there is to get them to take a proactive hand in it. They’re out there a lot more than we are, and if they see them and get them to stop, I think it begins to change the culture. I definitely think that in the little time we were out there that we made an impact, even if it was small.”

A month after the campaign, Walters said there haven’t been any formal violations reported to FAU PD. Focusing all efforts on raising safety awareness, Walters admitted not following through on enforcing the new policy.

Last spring, the UP reported on the “Reinventing the Breezeway” open forum, detailing the concept art and student input on the new and improved Breezeway with a tentative completion date of 2016.

Of the three active Breezeway Safety campaign members, none had considered safety measures for the Breezeway remodeling and construction.

“To be honest we haven’t thought about what exactly the campaign would look like factoring in the construction zones,” said Ferreira. “If the construction was overwhelming, we wouldn’t be out there promoting it.”

Walters told the UP she would bring this matter to attention during the next legislative session meeting held on Oct. 20.

“If I can get a petition going and see if students want [improved safety conditions], then I’d be more than happy to implement something to keep them safe,” said Walters.

Ferreira said the campaign will consider a shift in focus towards preventing popped tires and serious injuries nearby the construction zones when it occurs.

“When the House is meeting again,” detailed Ferreira to the UP via text message, “planning the [safety] campaign for spring will be the responsibility of the campus action committee and they may go with something like you’re saying.”

Despite its lack of supplies and the limited run in the fall semester, Ferreira claims a modest success based on their activities during the campaign and aims to renew the initiative for the spring 2015 semester.

“We really would like to do it again in the spring,” said Ferreira, “and make it actually be a whole month, now that we have everything.”