Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence of the University of Sydney today announced the scrapping of special ‘zoning’ restrictions, which were to be applied throughout the inner-city Camperdown campus. The restrictions would apply to all students on campus, including those who are ambulant. Number-tiered and colour-coded pathways, which students are only permitted to access when they have the appropriate level of skill, experience and logbook hours, had been scheduled for construction over the summer holidays.
The plans came in the wake of escalating frustration with students who failed to walk around campus and to the local train and bus stations (such as Redfern and Central) quickly, efficiently and considerately.
Although secrecy shrouds the schematics for the proposed network, what is known is that the skybridge over City Road was to be coded Red due to the particular difficulty people seemed to have walking appropriately over it, and would be protected by sliding glass doors. Only fully-licensed walkers would be able to swipe onto the bridge, and everyone else would have to cross at the road. Eastern Avenue and Manning Road would have been coded Yellow due to the high amount of foot traffic being offset by quite generous path space. There would also have been two pedestrian crossings into campus, coded Green, which were to be supervised at peak periods for those who simply cannot learn to walk with basic consideration for others and who pose a safety risk for the entire city. Those people were to receive Union-subsidised fMRI scans and genome sequencing to get a better understanding of their absence of empathy.
New South Wales Police Force Commissioner Andrew Scipione issued a stern rebuke to USYD students who couldn’t stick to basic commuting decorum: “Approximately 70% of Sydney’s traffic congestion is caused by inner-city campus students not having the first clue about basic walking etiquette”, he said. “Things like sticking to the left to facilitate ease of overtake and not crossing the road while ogling hotties on Tinder should really be second nature to our next generation of leaders”. He added that if students are desperate to get their rocks off on the go, they should at least wait until they reach the traffic island before swiping right. “I mean, that’s what they’re there for”, he noted. Scipione praised the University for its initiative in tackling this issue after hearing about its investment in the startup company, Shouldn’t Be Necessary Walking SolutionsTM, in return for immediate construction and implementation of the pilot program.
The tactful solution was abandoned this week, however, due to concerns over the ableist nature of the system. Although each zone was also going to be clearly labelled in ascending order (Green, tier 3; Yellow, tier 2; Red, tier 1; Blue, tier 0) with a Braille plaque at the beginning of each walkway, and the Blue tier being restricted to those with specific mobility difficulty (temporary injury passes were also going to be issued), there was a febrile response from the differently-sighted lobby, who felt that it was unfair that chromonormative individuals were exposed to two very clear indicative stimuli. Less-than-able-to-see-colour individuals would be restricted to the number system, especially those with achromatopsia, unless they also learned Braille, which the lobby noted chromonorms could also hypothetically learn.
For those with only partial colour loss and colour confusion (dichromatic individuals), this could even lead to a sense of overwhelming panic if they found themselves under the grave misapprehension of having wandered onto the wrong tier, which was projected to swamp the Arts faculty’s already overloaded Special Consideration site and crash both of the University’s servers.
The two major parties’ minor unelected representatives have surprisingly responded with unprecedented bipartisanship on the issue. One member of the Young Liberals, who agreed to be interviewed under condition of anonymity, said he thought that the implementation of walking laws was long overdue: “I mean, if you need a license to drive on public roads, why shouldn’t you need a license to walk on public streets? Dickish behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere but the party room and legislative assembly.” We laughed, too. Young Labor stuck their erroneously-spelt noses in to remark that, “we shouldn’t be supporting sending people to refugee islands to be processed offshore. Instead, we should be investing in pedestrian refuge islands with Wi-Fi, counselling and docking stations.”
However, other campus groups were not as convivial to the revelations that NSWPF officers were originally set to patrol the new walkways during daylight hours, arresting those who failed to comply and charging them with a range of offenses from disorderly conduct, insight riot, affray, domestic terrorism, fail to be a productive member of society, sport shitty-looking man ban, and fail to indicate while overtaking, at the discretion of the individual officer. There was also concern that NSW Premier Mike Baird refused to rule out the acquisition of surveillance and Predator drones from the ADF to monitor and enforce compliance.
Before the plans were scrapped entirely, a concession was made by the University in response to the imperial ‘Cops Off Campus’ movement’s lambasting of the proposal to have the new system permanently operated by Highway Patrol officers, citing the fact that they were certain to be more useful elsewhere, probably. The University said that it had listened to the concerns of the community and would instead only employ the most laid back State Transit Officers on a rotational basis. The SRC, who could not reach a unanimous decision on the issue, decided instead to semi-ironically nickname the project Operation Stalin’s Laid Back Deathmarch and demanded travelators be installed for the bottom two tiers in order to reach a deal allowing the plans to go ahead. They also demanded chai latte stands at regular intervals and a ‘halfway station’ to prevent stress.
Young Liberals responded to the change in personnel, which had originally been a condition of their cooperation on the deal, by demanding fully-armed OSG officers and police snipers stationed on top of the New Law Annex and Chemistry buildings to prevent freeloading students from becoming dependent on their walkway entitlements.
The Socialist Alliance, viewing the new system as a fascist racket, responded by forming a petition asking red- and yellow-tier walkers to check their privilege and consider boycotting Israel for its involvement in manufacturing the off-label paint used to mark the pathways, which they claim was never made available in the Gaza Strip, although one university in the West Bank has considered investing in a Shouldn’t Be Necessary Walking SolutionsTM system themselves. A press statement out of Benjamin Netanyahu’s office suggests he is seriously concerned about the Alliance’s petition: “The Sydney University chapter of The Socialist Alliance is having a serious impact on Israeli business. They’re really making me rethink how I run things. Mossad are currently reviewing our options. I would like to reiterate our position of nuclear ambiguity and that I can neither confirm nor deny our ability to launch nuclear warheads proximal to Australia.” The Socialist Alliance is sending representatives to Hebron where the Yellow paint is sourced in order to conduct an external review over concerns that the West Bank mixture was sub-standard and likely to fade three months earlier than advertised, perpetuating the aggressive capitalistic planned obsolescence that is crippling the West Bank’s otherwise flourishing and prosperous economy.
Other than compulsory lessons in human decency, no other solutions to the walking plague have yet been put forward.