By Travis Reynolds
Posting flyers at Eastern is not as simple as tacking a piece of paper to a bulletin board. Without Student Life’s stamp of approval, flyers stand a better chance of being taken down than staying up.But do people really need that stamp to post flyers legally on campus? Student body President Doc Fifer said he doesn’t think so.
At Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Fifer approached professors and administrators to challenge language in section six of the faculty handbook, which limits the use of bulletin boards on campus to posting university-related notices. And Student Life must approve each flyer, banner and notice.
“This policy is almost universally loathed,” Fifer said. “The SGA office receives frequent complaints and questions from students and community members…” he said. Fifer said Student Life references the passage in the faculty handbook when defending its posting policy, but argued the policy does not appear in Eastern’s student handbook and, therefore, does not apply to students.
“It seems clear that the faculty handbook is not a policy that is designed to be enforced university-wide,” Fifer said. “It seems clear to us that the Office of Student Life is inappropriately enforcing the faculty handbook upon students.”
Fifer suggested the policy deprives students of useful information, including apartment vacancy postings, notices of local events such as concerts and job announcements.
Flyers like these are illegal to post under the current policy, he said. “We don’t want protection from information, because we can always think for ourselves,” Fifer said.
Fifer then requested Faculty Senate consider repealing the paragraph, and allow SGA to help write a new, more inclusive policy. But not everyone in the room said he agreed with Fifer’s presentation.
“I don’t want commerce in my classroom,” said Matthew Winslow, a faculty senator representing the psychology department. “I would say there are far more appropriate places than the classroom (to post such flyers).”
Fifer said the new policy would restrict certain postings, perhaps including credit card offers.
“I wonder,” said Mark Case, faculty senator and assistant professor of marketing, “if (SGA) would be in favor of certain restrictions to the (new) policy… so we don’t see the f-bomb everywhere.”
Fifer said he agreed some restrictions should be enforced, but Student Life should keep from violating the First Amendment and defeating the purpose of the new law.
“We need to take this policy off the books,” he said, “and write one that makes sense.” Faculty Senate decided it would ask SGA to consider a new policy and present it at the next Faculty Senate meeting.