Sign Policy Perplexing

If you take a look around the RPI campus, which boasts itself with consistent top 10 rankings on The Princeton Review’s “More to Do on Campus” list, you’ll probably notice fewer and fewer student organization posters calling for participation. Before I begin, I would just like to say I have read the Institute Sign Policy and recent “revisions” many times and I’m still baffled at the inconsistencies between policy and actuality this year.

I am a brother of Alpha Phi Omega (co-ed service fraternity). My organization, like many others, depends on postering as a means of getting its name out there and advertising major events. In September, I started to notice posters removed shortly after they were put up with no apparent reason, especially along the Low Center for Industrial Innovation corridor. This kept happening and short of holding a stakeout, a few of us started looking for answers. Are random students ripping them down? Probably not. Are they falling off on their own? Not likely. Physical plant? No. Did we follow all current sign policies? Yes. This led us to inquire with Public Safety. Officers there were under the impression that the Environmental Services’ policy included that no posters were allowed on any building and that it had been e-mailed out. Something else is going on, which I can only speculate to.

So, my question is, does anyone know what is going on and who is in charge of making these decisions? I cannot help but notice the rumors and inconsistencies and wonder if others are noticing …

Last winter, I saw no less than 15 blue posters advertising the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center’s Rensselaer Holiday Concert on a single pillar. Some of these were blatantly covering other flyers, including those announcing a blood drive and Genericon’s call for volunteers. Are some organizations exempt from the “rules?”

The footbridge was approved to be off-limits by the Student Senate, but this policy may not go into effect for months. Yet, there have been weeks this semester when the entire footbridge was cleared off completely, or others when it filled with posters.

One source in the Student Senate imprudently stated that signs are being taken down because the janitorial staff responsible “can’t speak or read English.”

The Institute Sign Policy and updates state, “Revisions to this policy must be approved by the Student Senate, the Faculty Senate, and the Dean of Students Office.” So, what’s the protocol since the Faculty Senate is now defunct?

All I have wanted to know is where can I put up my posters so that they don’t immediately become trash, but still can be seen? I acknowledge concerns against postering (costs of cleanup) and I have ideas for potential alternatives in addition to current resources (Concerto or out of place bulletin boards), but the fact that actions are taken first with formalities following is very unsettling. The student body clamors for “transparency” on many issues but is getting very little. Will any actual authority the Student Senate has fall similarly to that of the Faculty Senate? Who knows; I can only say that my organization and others will continue to contribute to this campus’ waste until things are clarified by all involved parties, not just the administration.

Jess Sitzer

CHME ’11