Lehigh announced their unified posting policy in a campus-wide email on Jan. 23 to address concerns from the Lehigh community about where and how postings ought to be shared.
The policy states that posting on campus is reserved to Lehigh community members, which includes students, faculty and staff, university departments and university organizations, in “designated posting areas” on campus.
The policy also states “All material must include the name of the university community member, department or organization responsible for the posting and their contact information (e.g., email address, telephone number and/or website).”
Provost Nathan Urban said this contact information could be an individual themself or a name of a Lehigh-affiliated organization or office.
“It could be the name of an individual or an organization, and (it) came about because last semester there were incidents where there was a lot of posting that was done, and there were some people who said ‘Oh, that must be people who have no affiliation with Lehigh coming on campus and posting,’” Urban said. “I don’t know whether that was true or not, but I think you want to be able to specify that, essentially if we’re creating a designated posting area it is for the purpose of the members of the Lehigh community to do it.”
Julie Wright, ‘26, a Gryphon in Dravo house, said there is a possibility that the additional contact information requirement could lead to a chilling effect on campus.
“I feel like this could be something that makes people insecure posting things because they have to put their contact information,” Wright said. “And I wouldn’t want something like that to lead to harassment.”
Urban said the additions to the posting policy came after questions arose last semester about who could post and what could be posted, and who is able to remove postings.
He said any member of the community is able to take down a posting that does not comply with the policy.
“Literally, if I walk into a classroom, and there’s any kind of posting in the classroom, I’m going to go take it down, and anybody can do that, we’re expecting that it’s kind of a community standard, like if there was trash on the floor,” he said. “If there’s posting in a classroom or in any place that is clearly not a designated area we hope that people will just simply take it down.”
Urban said conversations about free speech and free expression are happening on all campuses across the nation.
Ziad Munson, a sociology professor, was named chairperson of the new committee on free expression by President Joseph Helble.
Munson said the goal of the committee is to offer a recommendation on whether or not the university should have an explicit policy on free expression.
As of today, Lehigh has a variety of policies that speak to free expression, but they don’t all live in one place.
Munson said their recommendation will be established by reaching out to the campus community, asking for theit current views on free expression.
“That’s in part one of the charges of this committee, to figure out is what we have now good enough or not?” Munson said.
In terms of the posting policy, it is not clear yet how it will impact students given the change is very recent. That said, the new posting policy is not much different than previous university standards.
The Lehigh announcement referred to it as a unified posting policy, creating the revisions with the purpose to make the policy more centralized.
“My concern is that people do not confuse the discussion about the posting policy with the larger and more important discussion that I think we need to have on free expression,” Munson said.