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Some leaders decry policy on flyering

Several student leaders say a new flyering policy has too greatly limited their ability to effectively advertise campus events.

Although the original 1997 policy officially prohibited posting flyers on sidewalks, the Bryan Center walkway, doors and exterior walls, it was not enforced, so some student leaders said it was not as burdensome.

Duke Student Government recently revamped the bylaws of the policy, creating harsher penalties for student groups who violate it. The Facilities Management Department is now charged to remove any illegal posters as soon as it sees them.

"When student groups renew their charter yearly, they have to sign the flyer policy--something they never had to do before," said freshman Emily Brady, a DSG legislator who helped rewrite the bylaws. "The penalty for violating the policy now is that the group may lose its funding or have its charter revoked."

The move to enforce the policy was passed for both campus beautification and functional reasons--superfluous flyers sometimes clog storm drains, Brady said.

Student leaders said student turnout at campus events has been negatively affected by the policy.

Asian Student Association President Jin Park said it is harder for students to keep informed as a result of the policy, and that ASA has seen a decline in the attendance at its events since the policy was passed.

Naveen Rao, co-president of the Duke University Red Cross Club, said her group has had also seen a drop in blood donors since the policy was passed, but noted that she was glad DSG was taking measures to beautify campus.

Freshman Scott Lemmon, a member of the East Campus Council, said he thought groups would soon adapt to the policy.

"Like any change, this one will take some time to get used to," he said. "Once students get used to looking at bulletin boards for information, the policy will not be as much of an issue." Lemmon added that the campus has looked better since the policy has been imposed.

Some students said DSG should have offered other publicity options before it passed the flyering policy.

"Until bulletin boards are up in the Bryan Center to make up for not being able to flyer, we can't do much to advertise events," said freshman Allison Brim, a member of the Progressive Alliance. "[The policy] seems more geared towards the pictures in the Duke admissions pamphlet rather than to substantially cause positive change on campus."

DSG is still exploring alternatives to flyering, including installing more electronic signboards throughout campus, especially in buses, Brady said. In addition, she suggested the Duke University Union website as a good resource to find out about upcoming campus events.

Also, facilities management last week erected a circular kiosk at the West Campus bus stop on which students can post flyers.

"Not too many people look at what is posted on [it]," said Rao, a junior. "The only way people soak in the information advertised by the flyers is if they stumble upon them." Rao added that because so much goes on at Duke, such a concentration of flyers will not inform students about campus events effectively.


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