Two days ago the executive team received the heart-breaking news that ANU has decided to ban us from using Nerf blasters on most of campus. Their basis for this is that any form of gun is inherently a symbol of violence and that they do not like the connection with school shootings or war-torn countries. We have scrambled to try to find a solution, and though we aren't quite there yet, we thought it important to share with you the current status of the club and receive your input.
Currently our plan is to continue our 6 day long game as normal using socks instead of blasters during the day. This format will be different, and more humans will likely die, but the spirit of our game will remain. In order to allow everyone to use their blasters we plan to stop all play at 5pm (no tags or stuns allowed, full amnesty) each day and meet again for a night mission either in the gym, or in a secluded area of campus that will not bother any one. Approval has not yet been granted for this, but we are confident that ANU will find this an acceptable compromise.
If we are unable to get permission to use the blasters at night then the future of our club may be shakey as we believe that blasters are a large part of why people play this amazing game. We will be starting a separate thread to begin that discussion as we would like to hear everyone's thoughts on whether we should go out with a bang, and spend all the clubs money on an amazing 2 day game, or if we should continue with only socks. We will also organise an AGM so that your voices may be heard in person.
While this decision may hurt or even kill our club, we would prefer players don't take their anger out on the uni. Rest assured that the executive will take this all the way to the vice-chancellor before allowing our club to die. Think of it as "Hard-Mode: Socks Unlocked". You humans were all getting a little soft anyway
Note: In order to prevent the problems that occurred with our company announcement, I have asked all moderators and executive not to reply in this thread. Feel free to ask questions, the exec team will endeavor to reply to all your concerns in a single post each night starting tomorrow.
Clarification as at 12:40am 5/2/11
Thanks for the support here guys. We are all upset about this decision and would expect most of you would be too. It’s great to see the passion within our club and we all hope that we can work this out with the university.
First up we’d like to specifically state a very important point:
ANU has banned all weapons asides from socks. This means no nerf, no buzzbee, no slingshots, no blowpipes, no melee weapons (they directly said this and we have as a club also decided that the safety concerns are too great), nothing whatsoever. Just so we are all clear on this, there are no loopholes.
And just to clarify:
What we’re proposing at the moment; the game will stop at 5pm, allow safe and controlled passage to the night mission, then recommence at that start of the mission with blasters.
Is there no way ANU can be convinced of their mistake? Any way at all?
Believe me, we have had many emails and 2 face to face meetings to try to sort this out, we have turned to the US forums who have dealt with this problem for help, and brought out all the best arguments we can. We have barely been able to budge them from their current position. We will keep trying, but we are not optimistic.
Even stock only blasters would make a *FAR* better game than socks only.
The ban seems to have nothing to do with power levels or possible injury to non-players. They seem quite comfortable with the lengths we go to ensure no non-players are hit. The issue seems to be the representation of guns on campus.
Do we have any idea where, who and why the decision was made?
The decision was made by facilities and services (as they are ultimately the ones responsible for events on campus) in discussion with the chancellery, media team and legal team. We have been speaking with various people throughout security and facilities and services; ranging from front line security guards, right through to directors. The major concern here is the image we’re presenting; the university doesn’t feel that it’s reflective of our world class institution. We’re causing legitimate concern for some members of the campus community, we detract from academic study and generally just annoy people. The university does however understand what good we do, which is why we haven’t been banned outright.
So is ANU banning Nerf or HVZ??
ANU is only banning Nerf (and other) gun like objects. As the post states, we are hoping to run the game as normal with socks.
One other meta-level issue for everyone to consider is that we're in the middle of a change of administrative command of the ANU - new VC is scheduled to start in the next few months, so if there's going to be any increased level of conservative decision making, errors on the side of over-caution, now would be when it happens.
Very interesting to note. We were aware of this and it could help with the future of our club. Perhaps we can run one or two games with socks then come back kicking with blasters again (by that time nerf should have released a 700 round uzi style blaster that can fire over 150 meters but not hurt at point blank range, then we can just play Humans vs. Zombie.... just one zombie over and over again).
Well, that's where the education of this game would come in handy. And the stereotypes? Gamers, nerds, zombie aficionados all have a bad rep because of the nature of their hobbies. I get told off by old ladies for wearing gamer shirts, told to get a life. And I get similar glares and weird looks from people who think because I'm running around ANU with a nerf gun, that I have the emotional equivalence of a 6 year old. And I'm not so much angry, but just fed up with not only people not understanding our game, but the people involved letting this sort of ignorance spread. So if that's the case, I'll just have to go elsewhere.
The stereotypes don’t really help the situation, but they aren’t that big of a deal. Yes there are plenty of people on campus who aren’t our biggest fans (check stalker space if you’re curious) but security likes us and our game. The university understands what we do for the student population on campus and the extent that we go to so that we can run our game safely. They aren’t disputing the safety here, it’s the fact that they don’t believe the image is fitting for the university.
The major problems have been realistic looking guns and paramilitary stuff.
First: Remove squads\companies\etc - if it looks like a random game than anything tactical, it'd probably remove half the problem.
Second: Stock blasters (aesthetically). Bright yellow tends to discourage this sort of reactions. Blue less so, but same deal.
Remove these two and you'd be half way there imo.
We’ve brought this up with them in person and neither of these points are a major concern for them. They like the fact that we removed para-military gear from the game and believe that we’ve gone to sufficient levels. They also have no problems with the levels we go to regarding modified blasters (paint included); but the fact remains that they are “toy guns” which is where the problem lies.
Nerf guns bear about as much resemblance to real guns as caulking guns, frosting guns and glue guns.
I wonder if the ANU will ban builders, chefs and handicraft people from campus for inciting violence.
Nerf blasters are quite clearly toys, but they are also unmistakably “toy guns”. Everything you’ve listed are quite clearly not weapons, nor are they trying to imitate weapons.
Personally, I see this decision as being very PC. I was attracted to the ANU because of it's facilities and HvZ. Now I'll go there for the4 facilities and fight for my right to run around campus with a nerf gun having fun.
It is. ANU is a world class university and they have a professional image to uphold. In this regard it’s hard to fault them for wanting to protect it.
whingey gits....the club has made every attempt to not only secure the safety of its players, but the peace of mind of all people on the campus. from the power limits of the blasters to the friendly colours and no camouflage, we have all compromised TO THE EXTREMES to keep this game going. we even dropped holsters, removing sidearms from the equation. ANU really has to stop being so politically correct, or they will start to faint every time someone cracks a joke.
the club has compromised, maintained the game, and kept people coming back. allowing this to stop the club would be an insult to the moderators, executives, and the players themselves. going out with a bang, using nerf blasters to get us banned fully will not help. if we are to play with socks, so shall it be. let us accept this hinderance in our strides, understand that human survival rates are at an all time low, and keep the club going. patience and perseverance will keep this game going, and i have full confidence that this outbreak of idiocy will be fixed in future.
no, let us not "go out with a bang." let us instead accept their hinderances, understand their perspectives, and persevere. if we can handle this issue, and show them our respectability, and their idea that the nerf blaster is a symbol of violence is foolish to the point of childishness, then the blaster will make a return to the game. wait out the storm.
ill play with socks.
Security has specifically mentioned on multiple occasions that they understand and appreciate the lengths we go to so that this game remains safe. They made it clear that we have always gone above and beyond their requests but it’s not the problem.
When we say going out with a bang, we mean using the remaining club funds to make this game as awesome as possible (providing we can get some blaster use on campus) or subsidising something else suitably awesome. If we can’t improve the current situation, under no circumstances will we knowingly flaunt ANU’s rules.
Serious question; how does this affect our O-Week shooty event? I can't see "bring your socks" as an effective hook somehow.
The O-Week event will hopefully go ahead in a designated area, complete with blasters.
I don't believe they want this club to continue if they ban the one thing that makes it as great as it is. There's 2.5 weeks left as has already been said. Not to mention the fallback plan seems to be turning off the game at night, which was a huge appeal to me and I'm sure a lot of others. Even if we get nerf for missions in the gym, what kind of missions will there be? Certainly nothing awesome for 7 nights in a row inside the same building each night, where the lights will almost certainly have to be fully on, taking away the atmosphere that playing at night brings to the game.
The direction that needs to be taken? Find the ANU staff member with the diamond rod shoved up his ass and give him a good kicking. We need nerf back. I don't believe this sort of decision should be made 2.5 weeks out from D-Day, if this was such a big issue as their making out, it should have been announced last year. You don't let a game play for two years and then suddenly decide the prime reason for it's success is a big bad violence causing reason.
While we could take the conspiracy theory approach I’m more inclined to believe security when they say they still want the game to go ahead. They appreciate what we do, the number of students involved, and what we do to try and please others.
This decision wasn’t made lightly from the university’s perspective. The people we met with very much understand our game and have done their research; when we started talking about games in the states at prestigious colleges, they started talking about games where blasters were banned. Security started talking to the different faculties last year and many people have been consulted. Yes it’s a little unfortunate that we only got the information this week, but it could have been far worse. With 3.5 weeks until game day, we still have a chance to get some form of compromise through.
The fact that the game has run in the past holds no (to possibly negative) relevance. Every game had to be approved on a case by case basis, I honestly think we’ve been quite lucky to get this far. I’m not aware of another university in Australia that hasn’t just banned the game outright, but I know of at least 3 that have.
SCA uses Ratan for the most part and whilst not a metal weapon is still an actual fighting weapon. You guys have a fencing gropup at ANU because April was with it. All of these groups have weapons which can actually kill people witha bit of a swing/thrust and no training. Why haven't they copped the same treatment as us as a club?
Those other clubs have to deal with the same very strict restrictions that we do, this was in fact explicitly explained to us by ANU security - they are not "getting off scott free" as you put it. The key difference is the scale, we are proposing a week long event amongst other students. The university is negotiating the use of closed/isolated areas for us to continue using weapons (in the same way as those other clubs already do) but there is a big difference between being in an environment like that and being amongst the majority of the university during the university week.
How has the club executive approached advertising to the campus as a whole, to each department and to the workers and students in relation to the game, what we do, what we use, how we use it, why we use it and what the club promotes through the activities?
Our club has one of the most dedicated, well funded and thorough advertising/marketing groups of any student club on campus. In fact we have had to since ANU security requires it of us. ANU security also spreads the word about our game to faculty and staff members regularly. We have also individually gone and spoken to numerous heads of buildings/departments including all of the on campus residential colleges. We have even appeared in student and local news papers. Not to mention our now somewhat infamous spamming of students on campus with our flyers. So in other words, there is very little we can do to push it further than this. We will of course continue to endeavour to get the word out - but you have to realise that on a campus this big its just not possible to tell everyone - and even if we could, ANU security is keeping in mind the regular groups of visitors of ANU as well.
Can the executive past and present do a separate thread explaining this in detail to us please. It's not something which should be confined to a few because the few move on eventually and others will take the place so knowing where we all stand in relation to ANU as a whole and on a departmental level and in relation to students outside the game would be greatly informative and lead to better feedback rather then just raging imho.
The information is there for anyone to see, we are happy to answer any questions you may have and of course we will be going over this year's work in our AGM like we did last year for those who aren't following closely. The club was designed from the ground up to be something which could be "passed on" to others, hence our strong constitutional system, elections, etc. As for "where we all stand in relation to ANU as a whole and on a departmental level", I think you are asking for something which we do not have. We do not have a "position" with each department - departments are not paid to deal with us and simply don't, they leave it to security and that is who we have to work through, they are in charge of all events on campus. This thread and any other information we release (which we will do as soon as we get it) already details ANU's discussions with us. If you'd like an historical perspective on things, feel free to talk to us personally, but its not particularly relevant.
The club is not designed to be able to be picked up by any member at a moment's notice. When a new executive is voted in, they work with the old executive until they find their feet. We communicate information that is relevant to all players in this forum (like this).
More importantly, the one question on my mind is - Humans have been seriously nerfed (badum tish!) with the forced removal of Nerf Weapons. Zombies have been seriously buffed first day to counter increased skill of human players but also vastly improved rate of fire weapons. Are there still going to be wagga bomb zombies and a starting horde on the first day? the first is bad enough, but with the second as well, why should Humans venture outside with odds stacked so far against them?
The moderators and executives have and will continue to analyse the relevant effects this change will make on balance in the game and will choose a course of actions which they feel is best. More information on those decisions will be released once we have full ANU approval.
I don't like that ANU are basically screwing over a club which has run 3 games with nerf blasters and has grown nicely and even has members of staff on board, by removing nerf guns because the image promotes violence. Has it occured to them that in allowing the game to be played for 3 semesters already with blasters that videos with the ANU name and blasters on campus have been plastered all over the world via the wonders of the internet? It just screams of a shallow and ignorant view point that goes against everything that the club stands for - fostering friendships with people no matter who they are or their backgrounds via a glorified game of tag that allows you to be a kid again. Kids don't use socks enmass.
None of us like it. Please keep in mind from the ANU's point of view we are a small minority (250 / 9000 undergraduates) who has a very vocal voice and place on campus and disrupts a lot of people. We had a lot of difficulty originally getting them to accept the use of nerf blasters in the game and from the beginning we have had people opposed to and in favour of the game within the ANU administration. As such it is a political decision. Please note however that we have no reason to believe that the new VC is in anyway related to this decision, that is entirely conjecture. We believe the decision to have come from below him. ANU does actually like our game however - they have told us that they want us to keep running it, if they didn't want that then they would have banned us outright, they are just dealing with the complaints they have in a way they think is best. We will do our best to show them why they are incorrect.
Instead of using part of the campus or the Gym, why don't you make use of the park that Neil (verymildsuperpowers) used for Nerf Wars 3 weeks back?
That has been something we have strongly considered and talked to ANU security about. Our main concern with such parks is insurance coverage and we are in discussions with various groups about the feasibility of this option.