Crackdown on postering

The CSU is up in arms over a new poster policy drafted by the dean of students office that proposes to fine student groups $75 dollars for postering violations.
The draft policy is, in part, a reaction to a citation the university received
from the Montreal fire department in April 2001. According to Normand Lanthier, the public and fire safety officer at Concordia University, careless postering can be a fire hazard.
“Last year it was becoming clear that students were plastering [posters] without care,” he said. In some locations, posters were placed on top of other posters.
Lanthier pointed out that on combustible surfaces like paint or wallpaper, these papers could act as kindling. “It only takes one match.”
The policy, as written Sept. 25, indicated that students would no longer be allowed to place posters in washrooms and classrooms. In addition, postering would be limited to designated locations only. Students and groups who violate the proposed poster policy would be subject to a $75 dollar fine for each offence. After three violations, a student organization would be charged an additional $100 dollars, lose the use of university property and facilities for its activities, and potentially lose some source of funding.
According to Benoit Desgreniers, vice president outreach for the CSU, the proposed fines are unfair. “In order to reach the most number of people, [groups] need to poster. Designated billboards are non-existent and non-convenient.” Desgreniers pointed out that many organizations do not have the resources to seek out correct locations for posters and to pay heavy fines.
The proposed fines are also a concern for Lanthier who felt the system would be difficult to implement. He argued that the key to fire safety is the education of student groups. Nevertheless, Lanthier felt the new restrictions on postering were necessary to keep the university safe.
When asked about his group’s position on the fines, Bilal Hamideh, president of the Muslim Students Association, said the fines were unfair given the current lack of poster space on campus. “If the university gives us lots of places to put posters, [fines] might be okay.”
While Michael Golden, the new co-ordinator of student affairs, was unable to confirm whether fines as described in the Sept. 25 draft policy would be included in the final policy, he did say that the new policy would not be implemented until more poster space was allocated. Golden said that within the next 3 to 4 weeks, 80 new poster boards would be distributed throughout the campus.
According to the drafted poster policy, “the university is committed to
promoting freedom of expression” but “it has a concurrent responsibility to ensure…a safe and civil environment.”
For Desgreniers, restrictions on postering and excess fines are an issue of freedom of speech. Desgreniers promised that the CSU would do everything it could to prevent the poster policy, as proposed, from being initiated.
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