Take part in women-centered chants. Get $1 drafts at Gilligan’s. Learn to read German. Take a survey about breasts.
These are a few headings from the collage of fliers spread across the USM campuses. Many groups and individuals take advantage of the high number of students who notice their flashy fliers as they pass by on their way to classes.
Recently, surveys were posted in Luther Bonney Hall and the Woodbury Campus Center about the importance of breasts. It was titled “Sociology Survey” and asked questions regarding what men think about the importance of a girlfriends’ breasts and their role in women’s’ attractiveness.
After complaints from a few students, Cathy Wright, administrative assistant for Portland Student Life, faxed the survey to the Sociology Department to learn more about the fliers.
Portland Student Life has never had to take action against inappropriate fliers, according to Wright, so it made an effort to determine the validity of the survey before doing anything.
Also, in light of their recent controversial decision to temporarily boycott a local newspaper, officials were reluctant to censor the flier.
“[They] didn’t want to turn it around and have it be another Casco Bay Weekly thing,” said Erin Chick, a senior economics major and employee of Portland Student Life.
The Sociology Department did not recognize the survey and requested that it be taken down.
Portland Student Life removed the surveys, not because of their content, but because they were listed as being sociology surveys when they were not, according to Wright.
In general, posting fliers around the University is simple, said Wright. Current University policy mandates that materials posted in public spaces must be given a stamp of approval by Gorham Events Board or Portland Student Life. A stamp from either allows fliers to be posted on the Portland and Gorham campuses.
Anything within reason is allowed to be posted, according to Wright.
Rodney Mondor, assistant director of Student Involvement and Greek Life, recalled just one instance in Gorham where fliers were deemed inappropriate. Someone had posted that he was looking for female models. The University learned the fliers were posted by a man simply trying to meet naked women. Complaints were brought to the attention of Gorham Events Board and such fliers have not surfaced since.
“I think there is that line for us to protect students,” said Mondor. “Students trust that things up are safe.”
Mondor said that fliers are stamped primarily so University officials know when to take them down, but he admits that the process exists partly to monitor what goes up.
According to the University general policy on “Freedom of Speech, Solicitation and Distribution of Literature in Public Areas,” no restrictions will be put on what students can post on campus, “except those necessary to preserve the order necessary for the University to function as an institution of higher learned.”
Craig Hutchinson, executive assistant to the vice president for Student Development, said that lawyers are currently looking at the policy to clarify exactly what it means and to make sure it is legal.
Right now, the policy depends on a great deal of interpretation.
Though University officials say there is little restriction on flier content, vendors who come to USM must abide by much stricter guidelines. Vendors are allowed in front of the Gorham Events Board window in the Brooks Student Center and in the front room of the Woodbury Campus Center only.
“The front door of your resident hall is the same as the front door of your house,” said Mondor. “Students have the right to walk to class without being harassed.”
Gorham Events Board has barred some credit card companies from campus because of their actions.
Staff Writer Tyler Stanley can be contacted at: [email protected]