On Friday, February 23, Barnard Dean Leslie Grinage announced a new ban on displaying certain decorations on residence hall doors.

Barnard residential students are now prohibited from personally decorating dormitory room and suite doors, as announced in an email from Barnard Dean and Vice President for Campus Life Leslie Grinage This ban prohibits decorations including dry-erase boards and messages, except for residence name tags or other items placed by the College. Grinage’s announcement is attached below.

In her email, Dean Grinage outlined the ban’s attempt to encourage inclusivity within residence halls, and highlighted how certain door decorations “can have the unintended effect of isolating those who have different views and beliefs.” As a result, all students are asked to remove any existing decorations before noon on Wednesday, February 28. All remaining additions will be removed by the College beginning Thursday, February 29. Barnard Residential Life and Housing is accepting requests for exemptions from this policy for religious or other pertinent reasons. The new policy is not yet outlined in the Residential Life and Housing Student Handbook.

Email from Leslie Grinage to Barnard residential students on Friday, February 23 at 4:08pm:

Dear Residential Students,  

The residential experience is an integral part of the Barnard education. Our small campus is a home away from home for most of you, and we rely on each other to help foster an environment where everyone feels welcome and safe. This is especially important in our residential spaces. We encourage debate and discussion and the free exchange of ideas, while upholding our commitment to treating one another with respect, consideration and kindness. In that spirit, I’m writing to remind you of the guardrails that guide our residential community — our Residential Life and Housing Student Guide

While many decorations and fixtures on doors serve as a means of helpful communication amongst peers, we are also aware that some may have the unintended effect of isolating those who have different views and beliefs. So, we are asking everyone to remove any items affixed to your room and/or suite doors (e.g. dry-erase boards, decorations, messaging) by Wednesday, February 28 at noon; the College will remove any remaining items starting Thursday, February 29. The only permissible items on doors are official items placed by the College (e.g. resident name tags). (Those requesting an exemption for religious or other reasons should contact Residential Life and Housing by emailing housing@barnard.edu.) 

We know that you have been hearing often lately about our community rules and policies. And we know it may feel like a lot. The goal is to be as clear as possible about the guardrails, and, meeting the current moment, do what we can to support and foster the respect, empathy and kindness that must guide all of our behavior on campus.  

The Residential Life and Housing team is always here to support you, and you should feel free to reach out to them with any questions you may have.  

Please take care of yourselves and of each other. Together we can build an even stronger Barnard community.   


Leslie Grinage 

Vice President for Campus Life and Student Experience and Dean of the College

Barnard housing via Bwog Archives