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Confusion can be cleared when it comes to posters

Published: April 11, 2014
Section: Opinions


The rules regarding hanging up posters would be draconian if they made sense. So all posters or fliers must be “approved/stamped by the Department of Student Activities or the Campus Center Team,” that much I can follow. I am a little perplexed by what the Campus Center Team is, but apparently both are located at the Information Centers, which are places that are not in any way straight out of a young adult dystopian novel.
The issue lies in the approval process itself. Posters are allowed to be displayed in Shapiro up to two weeks prior to the event that the flier is advertising. (The Shapiro in question is presumably the dorm in Massell Quad and not one of the other dozen or Shapiro buildings on campus.) According to the Posting Policies for the Shapiro Campus Center and Usdan Student Center, “approval is limited to two weeks or until the day after the event, whichever is sooner. Poster can be re-stamped once.”
Two weeks before the event or a day after the event? I’m asking my assembled panel of experts: Which is sooner to the event? Maybe I’m misunderstanding this, which is possible. Maybe it’s needlessly complicated, which is also possible and more likely. My own reading comprehension aside, why does it take DCL so long to approve posters for clubs and the like anyway? In Sherman I’ve seen some sort of advertisement for women to become egg donors, but fliers for activities are fewer and far between in that spot. Surely an event hosted by the ASL club is more relevant to the interests of most students than ova donation, which I’m nearly certain requires you to have a bachelor’s degree at the ready.
The system for putting up posters is inefficient. To have posters put up in the residence halls, “the materials must be delivered to the Department of Community Living for distribution by staff.” Why not skip the middleman and allow students to go to the Department of Student Activities, get their poster approved and put it up themselves? It saves time and whatever manpower goes into putting up posters. And for posters to have any effect whatsoever toward advertising an event, they have to be plastered everywhere—they’re competing for space with other, possibly better designed posters.
Apparently “all posters and fliers become the property of the Department of Student Activities once their approval has been expired unless the party that posted them removes them,” which is never, because old posters never get taken down. It’s April, and I still see advertisements for events in early March, which take up space that fliers about upcoming events could occupy.
It is by no means not the most pressing concern at Brandeis University, but it’s a concern nonetheless. Students have taken to using chalk to spread the word about their events, which can’t be governed by the DCL. Since that’s not an option for most clubs and events, the approval process is where changes can really be implemented, namely by speeding it up. As it stands, it’s unnecessarily bureaucratic.
I recognize the need for posters to be approved in the first place, and I’m sympathetic to the fact that poster approval is not the DCL’s only function. But if students took their fliers to the DCL, had them approved on the spot and then were able to put them up, the process would go all that much more smoothly. Maybe there would be some sort of incentive to take down old posters, who knows? It’s a little thing, but it might as well be made that much easier.