The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: Eastern needs to deregulate bulletin board policies

Jason+Farias
Sia DeyKoontz
Jason Farias

Frankly, Eastern flyer areas are underwhelming, and our bulletin board policy is to blame.

Community bulletin boards are a vibrant feature of college life, plastering the social landscape in all manner of announcements, notices and student designs. Bulletin boards on residential college campuses are decentralized nodes of student communication.

These boards are the social and cultural mosaics showcasing all that a melting pot life a college campus has to offer.

It’s Yik Yak but in real life. Only now imagine that everything you posted on Yik Yak had to be approved by the administration.

Unless you are already involved in a registered student organization, you may not be aware that EIU’s bulletin boards act more as a restricted privilege than as the public commons.

For the most part, only RSOs and administrative offices can post on campus bulletin boards. RSOs must have their event approved by their adviser and then campus scheduling, which can take days, a week or in very rare cases, they may never get back to you at all before your event comes around.

However, here’s the kicker: each and every individual flier must be stamped by hand. The infamous stamp policy is arduous, overly bureaucratic and, in general, a massive waste of time.

You might feel like such procedures are common sense and best practice until you’re the one having to go through it all. Just wait until you hear that the stamp policy has not always been around, and that other universities don’t monitor student communications to such a high degree.

Roughly fifteen years ago, The Daily Eastern News wrote in an editorial, “Until the fall 2009 semester, virtually anyone could post items on said boards without permission.”

The controversial introduction of Policy No. 138.1 essentially prohibited all postings of any materials on campus with few exceptions.

Student backlash from 2009-2010 is well documented on The Daily Eastern News’ website. Debates exploded over bulletin board clutter, free and open exchange of ideas and First Amendment constitutional law; many disregarded the new policy entirely and continued posting freely following its implementation.

The editorial went on further to write, “perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the policy is that the university is effectively controlling a large, visible aspect of communication among students and student groups.” Fifteen years later, the sentiment remains the same.

Take a trip up to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and you will see postings everywhere: “Looking for a roommate?” “Band looking for a guitar player.” “Lost Cat.”

You will see infographics advocating for social justice, promos for local musical events and student art. In a meeting with RSO leaders from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, my peers couldn’t believe how many hoops I had to jump through just to get a flyer up.

Perhaps, it is time we reconsider bloated bulletin policies and get in line with some better practices. Many universities utilize “general campus bulletins” that promote community and popular communication.

Moreover, by relaxing some of these intrusive policies we can more effectively protect student freedom of expression and right to assembly all while having the added benefit of improving campus culture.

But please, more than anything, let us make the dreaded stamp policy a thing of the past.

 

Jason Farias can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jason Farias, Culture Columnist
Jason Farias is a senior history education major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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