Updated 10/25/12 with statements from the leaders of SGA, SGB, and ABC.
Barnard has ended a controversial posting policy that required all fliers to be preapproved by administrators.
Dean Avis Hinkson, the Student Government Association, and Barnard’s Student Life office said in a joint statement Wednesday night that fliers and other postings will no longer need to be stamped by the Student Life office before going up around campus. The policy was implemented at the beginning of the semester.
The Student Governing Board’s executive board and the Activities Board at Columbia had both voted earlier this week to ignore the policy. According to the joint statement, SGA’s executive board met with the Student Life office Oct. 3 to discuss a re-evaluation of the new fliering rule.
“At that meeting, SGA unequivocally expressed opposition to the use of a stamp on student fliers,” the statement read. “Student Life, in turn, requested that we take this time as a review period to re-evaluate the policy with student input.”
But input from SGB, ABC, and student groups sped up the re-evaluation process, according to SGA President JungHee Hyun, BC ’13.
“The reason that it was so fast was definitely a combination of the fact that we had been talking about this for the whole semester and … groups were deciding not to flier on our campus because of this stamp rule,” Hyun said. “Our mission is to make sure that our students are getting the quality and quantity of opportunities for student campus life as much as possible. If students aren’t fliering because of a stamp policy, that needs to go away.”
The chair of SGB and the president of ABC made presentations to SGA Monday night about their decisions not to comply with the fliering policy. Hyun said that discussions with the governing boards allowed SGA to “add to the conversation” it was already having with administrators.
SGB Chair David Fine, CC ’13, and ABC President Saketh Kalathur, CC ’13, said they were happy that the policy was reversed so quickly after their governing boards’ votes.
“It’s a credit to the Barnard administration and to the SGA that they responded so quickly to these concerns once we raised them in a public forum,” Fine said.
“This is really a testament to the fact that when students make their voices heard, administrators listen,” Kalathur said.
Kalathur said that this situation should set an example for all student groups.
“If there are things that you don’t like about Columbia, don’t think that it’s impossible to change the policy,” he said. “It is always possible. All you need is enough students to make enough noise.”
According to the statement from SGA and Barnard administrators, the stamping rule was originally put in place to ensure that all fliers around campus were relevant to Barnard students and to prevent derogatory or discriminatory postings.
“All fliers are [still] going to be taken down if they have any kind of discriminatory or derogatory message,” Hyun said.
SGA is forming a task force of students and administrators to evaluate the posting policy further. Hyun said that she hopes to have a newly revised policy in place by Thanksgiving.
Read the whole statement on the policy change here.
Sammy Roth contributed reporting.