SA may review flier approvals

By Sabryna Cornish

The responsibility of who is to blame for obscene or offensive posters that were approved by University Programming and Activities is a hazy line between student organizations.

Michelle Emmett, director of University Programming and Activities, said UP&A is ultimately responsible for any stamped fliers posted around campus.

“We’re not without blame for anything that happens with posters,” she said.

The actual stamp the fliers and posters receive states, “UP&A/NIU poster approval.”

Emmett said, however, if there is a problem with an SA-approved poster, it is “the SA’s problem. It is up to them to see if the organization is violating SA policy.”

However, SA Public Relations Adviser Anna Bicanic said, it is not responsible for any fliers, even if they bear the SA logo or are funded by the SA.

SA President Abe Andrzejewski said the SA probably should look into approving the posters if the organization’s name will be on them.

“It’s something we should consider,” he said.

Andrzejewski said the SA allocates money for advertising, but UP&A approves everything. He said the SA never has had a problem in the past with offensive posters and fliers bearing the SA’s name.

Bicanic said if there was a poster that was offensive and was SA-funded, one of the SA representatives would take the matter to UP&A.

“The SA can’t demand that all the posters get taken down,” she said.

However, NIU Legal Counsel George Shur said, the SA or any other organization “ought to be able to make a decision whether they want their name on a particular poster.”

He said “sponsors (of events) have some standing” to pull posters or fliers they disapprove of that bears their name.

Bicanic did say if a poster or flier was offensive and it had SA-funded stamped on it, people might think the SA approved of it.

Campus Activities Board, which is under the jurisdiction of UP&A sees the issue differently.

CAB Concert Committee Coordinator Pam Morin said, “CAB has the right to pull anything that has our name on it.” She stressed, however, that UP&A is the “official poster approving” organization.

UP&A has a two-page poster policy that all organizations and university bodies must follow before a flier or poster is approved for distribution.

One of the rules states, “The Office of University Programming and Activities must approve posters of Student Association- recognized student organizations and university departments before they are placed on campus bulletin boards.”

The fliers are reviewed and approved by secretaries at the UP&A office, Emmett said.

Controversy arose after a flier for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Coalition contained words some students and faculty found offensive. Emmett said the office tries to control the posters, but sometimes offensive posters get approved accidentally.

Emmett said if this happens, UP&A pulls the posters and tries to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Andrzejewski said he was “a little embarrassed that (the SA) let the LGBC poster go through.”