Students Voice Concerns over Posting Policies

Photo by Nicole Williams

Some students have voiced their dismay about Ramapo College’s posting policy, which prevents students from freely posting fliers on campus, stating that it limits their ability to easily translate messages across campus.

“I think it’s ridiculous that as students we can’t post a simple piece of paper notifying other students about cheaper books, or anything for that matter,”  said Tierney Henderson, a senior at Ramapo. “If we are supposed to have the freedom of speech, how can Ramapo dictate what we put up or where we put it?”

At the State of the College address last week, a professor raised the issue during the question and answer portion, stating that students in her readings in the humanities class, “really resented the fact that they couldn’t put a simple poster up on a wall advertising a textbook they had for sale or anything like that. Some even brought it up as a freedom of speech issue.”

Ramapo’s current policy states that fliers that do not exceed 11 inches by 17 inches must be approved by the Scott Student Center office. To post fliers exceeding 11 inches by 17 inches students must complete a posting waiver application.

The policy was adopted on Sept. 19, 2011 in order to “establish a system for efficiently and accurately disseminating information, maintaining the aesthetic appearance of the college environment, sustainability, and ensuring that all postings are in accordance with the New Jersey State Fire Code and other regulations,” the administrative policy states.

Posting coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement, Sarah Durando, said “Ramapo adopted posting policies in order to monitor a student’s ability to advertise on our campus. It prevents anyone from putting up inappropriate content or promoting any off-campus activities without the school’s approval.”

Students are also limited to where the fliers may be posted, how many fliers may be posted and how long they are able to remain posted.

According to Durando, CSI simply double checks to ensure that the posters have a few key elements and are school appropriate before the are approved.

”Reasons why a poster may not be approve include, but are not limited to, not having the arch or handicap accessibility logo for on-campus events, inappropriate images, inappropriate event names and if the information presented on the poster is incorrect,” Durando said.

Additionally, if a student wishes to post a flier in a residence hall they must consult with the respective residence director. Many students are under the impression that once their fliers are approved, they can just go to any residence hall and post them, which is not the case.

Senior resident assistant of Laurel Hall, Sheila Soriano, feels there could be one improvement.

“If the general public or organizations want to post in the residence halls they can go to the main office of Residence Life where they have mailboxes for each hall, and they can just put it there,” said Soriano. “A lot of the times people walk to the halls themselves and hand out their fliers, when you can just go to Res Life.”

Some students do not see a problem with the policy, and feel that the process is relatively easy and self-explanatory.

“It’s pretty easy; you just submit a flier and you have to put specific logos on it, such as the handicap accessibility logo,” said Soriano. “You then submit it to the Center of Student Involvement and wait for it to be approved.”

There are schools in different states that have more lenient policies regarding posting fliers. Alion College, a liberal arts school in Albion, Mich., allows students to post fliers whenever and wherever they want, as long as they are in good taste.

Albion College has designated areas for students to post fliers of their choice. There is also a "posting rock" where students and organizations can paint messages regarding campus news.

Several students feel that Ramapo has taken posting fliers and other ways of promotion for events a little too far.

“I understand Ramapo’s concern for distasteful or offensive material, but I also believe that as college students we should be mature enough to handle the rights we have,” said Ramapo senior, Anna Fucci. “If Ramapo wants us to express ourselves and our events, we should have the right to do so.”

Despite student dismay, several other New Jersey schools have similar policies. Rider UniversityRutgers University and Montclair State University are among some of the New Jersey schools with these similar policies. All of these policies have common guidelines: students cannot place fliers on vehicles, fliers must be approved by a student center or another office of that nature and posting must be in good taste.

The main difference between these schools is the time aspect of how long these fliers can be posted. At Rutgers, students cannot post fliers more than five days before the event date, while Ramapo allows fliers to be up no longer than two weeks. Rider also has a different aspect to their policy: not hanging signs on the highway near the campus, Route 206.

Even though many students do not agree with the policies, it seems that most colleges in New Jersey have the same principles when it comes to posting on school grounds.

Erin Mortara, who worked as a posting coordinator in CSI during the 2013 spring and fall semesters, stressed that the students and faculty involved in CSI are solely doing their job when it comes to checking fliers handed in for students.

“We’re just here to make sure everything is appropriate to be around the campus,” said Mortara.