After lawsuit, new policy gets stamp of approval

Photo by Charlene Belew

Photo by Charlene Belew

Casey Brown
Staff Writer

CU has updated its posting policy for student organizations on bulletin boards. Gone are the days that organizations need approval and a stamp from Student Development.

The change came about in part as a response to a lawsuit that was filed in May 2014 by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of CU student Daniel Harper, according to a press release.

Dean of Students Zeak Naifeh said the change in policy was also generated as part of the University’s cycle of reviewing and updating all policies.

“The other part of it was having a new President,” Naifeh said. “He has told us that we need to look at every single policy on a five-year cycle. It would have been looked at sometime in the near future, but yes, the court case did bump it up on the list of where the policy would have been reviewed.”

As part of the on-going review process, Naifeh looks at several policies each month.

“This month alone,” he said, “I’ve looked at two or three policies that we are looking at to update. They haven’t been looked at in 10 or 12 years.”

The new policy is available in full at http://www.cameron.edu/studentservices/handbook/facility-use-policy.

In part, the policy update says, “Priority for posting is given to recognized student organizations. All postings must be placed on University bulletin boards, and advertisements for solicitations are not allowed.”

According to an email from Naifeh, advertisements that have the University’s “trademark, logos and trade names must be approved by the Office of Public Affairs before distribution. Student organizations and students should not imply, infer or otherwise state the views expressed are those of the University.”

Naifeh said the policy was updated to be more accommodating to students.

“The gist is,” he said, “we updated it to allow people to post on bulletin boards without adding extra steps in the process. [That’s] essentially where it came from. If it is after five o’clock, and you want to post something, offices are closed. It sets your bar for advertising for your student organization back.”

However, the bulletin boards on campus are not a free-for-all.

“The one thing [that still needs to be stamped] is advertisements for services,” Naifeh said, “and that is just to protect our Cameron students from all the credit card companies wanting to come in. Those outside communities still need approval from Student Development, and there are a few places on campus they can be approved.

“For the rest of campus, for student organizations and students both, they don’t have to be stamped anymore.”

Harper’s lawyer, David Hacker, said in a press release that he appreciates Cameron University for the updated policy.

“Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” Hacker said. “We commend Cameron University for quickly and responsibly taking action to foster that environment on its campus.”

University President John McArthur said he was thankful the issue was addressed.

“We were able to make appropriate modifications to bring a policy up to date,” McArthur said. “The University’s objective is for its students to receive an effective education through a positive experience at Cameron University, both in and outside of the classroom. Administrators frequently face the challenge of managing this objective, while at the same time respecting existing policies as well as the competing religious and expressive intentions and goals.”

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