COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Over the past couple of years, Ohio State University students have used sticky notes and other materials to create messages and artwork on their dormitory windows.
But that has come to an end.
When students returned to campus this year, they learned the university has adopted a new rule banning all dorm window displays.
OSU student Nikhil Pramod said some of the window displays last year were not in good taste.
“I understand where the university is coming from like when you drive by on the street you saw some of these things that were inappropriate so for me it’s not a big deal,” Pramod said.
But for sophomore James Smith it is a really big deal. He’s among a number of students hoping to see the policy reversed.
“While the university’s intention is to eliminate what some would call hate speech from dorm room windows, this blanket ban on all displays is the wrong approach,” Smith said.
Smith is openly violating the new policy with a sign in his window that argues his first amendment rights trump the university policy.
There are a handful of other windows with messages in them. But overall the windows are clear albeit far less interesting.
University spokesman David Isaacs released the following statement:
“We annually review our Residence Hall Handbook. We have similar guidelines for Gateway, and we are rolling it out to other Columbus campus residence halls. We have also benchmarked other schools’ guidelines and have found this to be a common approach to windows and window coverings. The university maintains the discretion and right to determine use of windows, walls, doors and other university spaces.”
“Ohio State has a deep and abiding commitment to free speech. As with other rules and regulations that address university spaces, the rules within the Residential Living Handbook are consistent with the First Amendment.”
Second year student Gabriella Seidler said the window displays were fun.
“I thought it added to the campus culture and I’m sad to see them go but maybe if students were more responsible about it,” Seidler said.
Sophomore Emery D’Alesio from Broadview Heights said the window signs put smiles on faces and now, he says “it just looks dead.”
“I guess it’s hard to control that kind of stuff so I kind of understand why they did it (the ban) but I’m not a fan of the decision – not at all,” D’Alesio said.