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November 2003
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Banned Flyer update

Yesterday, I mentioned that the University Residence Halls were preventing the posting of Hempfest flyers because they had a drawing of a hemp leaf, and that an appeal was in the works.
Well, here’s the denial of that appeal:

I have reviewed the materials that you dropped off to me on November 20, 2003 that included a copy of the flier in question and a letter from your advisor, Peter Guither asking that I review the decision to deny the posting of your flier for a December 4th event called Hempfest.
It is my understanding that the flier does not comply with the university’s advertising policy (5.1.1.)… While I do not believe that your program will include illegal activity during the event, the advertisement depicts a marijuana leaf and there is no doubt that this is illegal.
…your goal as a Registered Student Organization is not being debated in this decision. Given your purpose and the current laws of this state, you have a challenging situation to further your cause within the guidelines and policies for the campus.
I regret that I cannot resolve this as you have requested, but I find no reason to overturn the decision that was made.

One of the strange parts of this for me is the fact that the people involved in making the decision are people I like. I’ve been involved with them on committees and in other settings and think that they do good work.
But there’s clearly a disconnect here. First, the university policy quoted is not only vague but extremely poorly worded.

On-campus advertising of activities or events by non-University organizations or individuals or individuals [sic] which include alcohol or other drugs as a part of the promotion of the activity or event is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages (such as kegs or cases of beer) shall not be provided as awards to individual students or campus organizations.
Advertising of University sponsored activities, whether held on or off-campus, which include alcohol or other drugs as a part of the promotion of the event is prohibited.

To the extent that the policy is interpreted to prohibit political content, it would appear to me to be illegal (this is a public university). And that’s how this decision interprets the policy.
The sad thing is that this student group (M.A.S.H.) is trying to educate students (in an educational instution no less) and tell them the truth about the many aspects of the Hemp plant that have been buried in the government propaganda war against marijuana. Ironically, the university is preventing the flyer because they have bought in to the propaganda that a five-sided leaf = substance abuse, and is therefore discouraging efforts by their students to educate and become better educated.
I guess we’ve got a lot of work to do.

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