There are countless ways students can enjoy the great outdoors. From bike riding to rock climbing, there are a variety of outlets to blow off some steam. One activity in particular that has increased in popularity is slack-lining, where people attempt to walk across a line of webbing material suspended a few feet above the ground between two trees or poles. However, on-campus slack-liners walk another fine line since the campus’ ban on slack-lining.
Under an interim policy established in early 2015, limitations were put in place regarding where and how slack-lining could be practiced on campus.
The university’s main concern was the safety of both students and trees. These concerns stemmed from the dangers of climbing trees to attach lines and performing aerial tricks.
Students were also using lines without bark protection on trees that were not wide enough in diameter, according to Director of Stratexgic Projects and Landscape Services member Scott Loosely. This was worrisome because trees are an important aspect of Cal Poly’s landscape and must be preserved for academic, architectural and horticultural purposes.
When the policy’s draft was released in late 2014, a group of slack-liners attended a campus landscape committee meeting. They were told that if a document was drafted following San Luis Obispo’s addendum specifying slack-lining locations and meeting protection requirements, the committee would be willing to review it. Nothing was ever submitted.
Additionally, University Housing planned to build slack-lining poles in “designated locations,” as stated in the policy (334.1.3-3220.127.116.11.9), specifically behind the North Mountain, Fremont Hall and Sierra Madre residence halls. This plan was never put into action. Because the designated locations and poles do not exist, slack-lining is essentially banned all together.
However, Cal Poly’s slack-lining situation could be resolved in the future.
“I think if there was a sanctioned slack-lining club and we came up with a legitimate policy that mimicked the city’s ordinance, we’d look at it again,” Loosely said. “It’s just that nobody’s come forward with that since and so it sits where it is.”
The campus’ policy on slack-lining will remain the same until action is taken, such as students voicing their concerns and creating an official campus slack-lining club.