First-Year Student Protests Pedestrian Access Act

“My plan was to stay until I was ticketed,” said Hautzinger.

Colorado College first-year student and long-time Colorado Springs resident Marley Ferguson Hautzinger has played an active role in the recent backlash against the Pedestrian Access Act (PAA), and has incorporated her own personal twist into the traditional methods of protest.

The Pedestrian Access Act says that sitting, kneeling, reclining, or lying on sidewalks or streets during business hours is now banned in downtown and Old Colorado City business districts.

On April 11, Hautzinger had friends wheel her and her bed roughly twelve blocks from CC’s campus to downtown Colorado Springs. They left campus around 10 a.m. and Hautzinger stayed on the sidewalk until around 1:30 p.m. when she was ticketed.

“When I was in the bed on the sidewalk, I was really trying to engage the public and homeless and non-homeless populations,” said Hautzinger. “Just engaging in dialogue and helping to create more dialogue around this [issue].”

Hautzinger had attended the protest on the Saturday before her bed sit-in, and she talked to many people who were very involved in fighting the new sit-lie ordinance. There were many efforts from the community to combat the new law, and Hautzinger wanted to contribute in some way.

“I wanted to be a tool in something broader,” she said.

Hautzinger lives in the Arts for Social Change Living and Learning Community at CC, and she was in Participatory Arts last block. These influences inspired her to act, along with other performing artists, such as Yoko Ono. She drew from her knowledge about social practice art, but then focused more on the political side than the artistic side.

“I think reconciling social justice and art is very complicated, and trying to be effective is very complicated, so between those two outlets I’m trying to grapple with how to do that…” Hautzinger said. “I was just trying to think of alternate ways to publicly speak out against the legislation that you disagree with, without needing lots of bodies, and how to do that as an individual.”

Hautzinger’s lie-in bed protest sparked many comments among the community, with both positive and negative feedback.

“Face-to-face, people were really positive and opposed to the Pedestrian Access Act,” said Hautzinger.

But online, people were not so supportive of Hautzinger.

“One thing that I regret is that I said I was a CC student, but I’m from Colorado Springs, which I think was more important to what I was doing,” said Hautzinger.

Online commenters criticized Hautzinger’s privilege, and to some it seemed out of touch for a first-year—who they thought was not from the community—to take such an active stance in a local issue.

But, Hautzinger is from Colorado Springs and cares about the issues affecting her community. Using her experience and knowledge of social justice and participatory arts, Hautzinger designed a protest that was unique in order to make her voice heard.

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