Barnard Ends Hated Poster Approval Policy

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The Barnard administration, in conjunction with SGA, has just released a statement announcing that student groups will no longer need to get their flyers approved and stamped by Barnard before posting them on Barnard bulletin boards. The reversal comes after both SGB and ABC, the two governing boards that represent virtually every student group at Columbia, announced that they would not obey the policy.

The flyer policy went into effect at the beginning of the semester and, like so many other Barnard policies, the administration implemented it without first seeking input from students or SGA. This was probably a mistake, and in tonight’s statement, “the College acknowledges that prior to the implementation of the policy, it would have been optimal for SGA to have been involved in the review process.”

The new flyering policy says that: “postings that do not uphold the standards of community at Barnard will be removed,” all bulletin boards will be cleared on Sunday nights, and most importantly, “the stamping rule will no longer be in effect.” The statement does not say what the “standards of community are Barnard” are, but fans of George Carlin are probably out of luck.

Here’s the full statement from Barnard and SGA, with the most important parts bolded:

To the Barnard community,
The Executive Board of the SGA, along with Student Life, and the Dean of the College, want to update the community on the Posting Policy and the discussions regarding the stamp of approval process. You have likely heard that the Student Governing Board of Columbia University and The Activities Board at Columbia University both released statements regarding the change in the posting policy, and that SGA released a comment in response. What has not been acknowledged is that SGA has been actively involved in conversations with Barnard administrators about this policy since it was implemented in September. Today’s statement is meant to inform the community of the steps that the SGA and the College have taken, as well as a change in policy that is being made as result of this collaboration.

The decision to change the College’s posting policy came from student concerns that bulletin boards were overcrowded by excessive flyering. Thus, 8 board spaces were added to campus to alleviate this problem and over the summer, the College formalized the updated posting policy, which included the new stamping rule. The purpose of the stamping rule was twofold: (1) to ensure that only students, student groups, and other offices (as opposed to, for example, advertisements from groups unrelated to Barnard) were utilizing campus posting space, making these postings visible and identifiable to the community and facilities (2) to proactively prevent any derogatory or discriminatory postings directed at a person or group, in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. The College acknowledges that prior to the implementation of the policy, it would have been optimal for SGA to have been involved in the review process.

Soon after the fall semester began, the SGA Executive Board heard concerns raised by peers and met with Student Life on October 3rd to discuss the posting policy. At that meeting, SGA unequivocally expressed opposition to the use of a stamp on student fliers. Student Life, in turn, requested that we take this time as a review period to reevaluate the policy with student input through survey ( and personal communication.

The SGA and the College further collaborated to review feedback from concerned members of the community. The following outlines the current version of the Posting Policy: (1) Postings that do not uphold the standards of community at Barnard will be removed (2) Facilities will standardize the procedure to clear all bulletin boards on Sunday nights (3) finally, the stamping rule will no longer be in effect.

SGA’s mission is “to promote open dialogue and action that will enhance student life at Barnard College” As always, SGA remains committed to expressing student opinion on College policies and working closely with College offices to better the student experience. SGA, Student Life, and The Dean’s Office commend the efforts put forth by students and staff to take action on this issue and welcome further input as we move forward.

To ensure that all student voices are taken into account, SGA will team with the relevant administrators to spearhead a task force devoted to comprehensively reviewing the posting policy. Please email if you are interested in serving on the committee and as always, email with any other concerns and thoughts.

Jung Hee Hyun, SGA President
Julia Kennedy, VP of Student Govt
Sarah Steinmann, VP of Student Activities
Malvina Kefalas, VP of Communications
Candace Fox, VP of Finance

Avis Hinkson, Dean of the College
Joyce Lewandowski, Student Life & Interim SGA Adviser

Overcrowded bulletin board via Shutterstock

Update: More statements!


The Student Governing Board happily supports the Barnard administration’s decision to reconsider their current posting policy. By removing the mandate for prior administrative approval of flyers, the Barnard administration has shown a willingness to respond to students, student groups, and governing boards who expressed discontent with the policy.

We commend both Barnard’s Student Government Association for taking a lead in fighting the policy, and the Activities Board of Columbia University for also voting to not comply.

As the Executive Board of the Student Governing Board of Columbia University, we are committed to best representing our groups and protecting the principles of free student speech and expression within all four undergraduate schools on our campus. We look forward to continuing our rigorous advocacy for our groups and their interests at Columbia University. The Student Governing Board pledges to work with Barnard’s administration and all stakeholders to form a policy that is favorable to our groups and the principles of free speech that for which the Student Governing Board stands.

The Executive Board of the Student Governing Board


The Activities Board at Columbia applauds Barnard’s Office of Student Life for their decision regarding Barnard’s new posting policy. As we understand, student groups will no longer need prior approval for posters that will be placed on Barnard’s campus. This development is a testament to the power students and student groups have when standing together and making their voices heard. ABC groups should remain confident that we will continue to fight for their interests. We applaud Barnard’s Student Government Association for the work they have put into addressing this policy, as well as the Student Governing Board for their vote of noncompliance. The ABC is eager to work with Barnard’s Office of Student Life to develop a new posting policy that is beneficial to all.

The Activities Board at Columbia

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  1. SGA lover  

    SGA is so great. Thanks for doing this!

  2. Anonymous  

    "Community standards?" Sounds a little ambiguous, don't you think? Not sure this resolves the free speech issue.

    • Anonymous  

      Not even close. I wish this was a public school where we could put admins through the ringer for proposing to criminalize "bias incidents."

      I don't understand why Barnard students go to school in NYC if the majority of them will support policies that hinder provocative speech, err against "clutter" on bulletin boards and keep people without an ID off campus.

  3. at least it worked better than my hybrid watergun / electric-toaster  

    turns out buying a glass dildo was a regrettable decision

  4. Anonymous  

    LOL, get some, Barnard admin. And while we're at it, why would it have "been optimal for SGA to have been involved in the review process?" As I recall, SGA was claiming to have been involved in this review process for months now, and was completely unable to change anything whatsoever. Only when ABC/SGB took the issue up themselves was anything changed. Might as well just skip the SGA due to their complete inefficacy.

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