For those who are frequent visitors of the campus center or Beck Hall, it may have been noticed that new posters made their way onto the walls. While a lot of the posters we see around campus are for fun events with a time and date on them, these ones were a little bit different, and were open to being easily misconstrued. Diversity on college campuses has been a longstanding topic, and whether or not campuses are making students feel like equals. These posters around campus are suggesting that Gustavus could be doing a better job with diversity. More and more of the posters are being taken down as soon as they are put up.
Diversity is important to focus on at Gustavus, but these posters may not be the right way to go about it, as they can be easily misinterpreted and don’t take into account the other factors that the college has done.
The first reason that these posters are being taken down is not necessarily because of their content, but for one obvious reason. These posters do not have the stamp of approval to be hung up like the surrounding posters do.
“Posters that aren’t stamped by the info desk in the campus center or student union are supposed to be taken down,” Sophomore Ace Schwartz said, who works at the info desk.
It can be easily inferred that the reason they are not on the walls anymore is because they call out the college on what they are not doing right, but it could also be the anti-climactic reason that they don’t have the right credentials.
It can be seen on the well-known “Overheard at Gustavus,” a page on Facebook, that there have been posters hung up in the past without a stamp, but that may have just been a technicality, not because the content on those posters was any more valid than these ones.
When it comes to poster hanging posters need the stamp.
While it is not known if these posters are truly being taken down due to the lack of a stamp, they may be getting taken down because of provocative content.
Media and Democracy, which is a course offered in the Communications Department, teaches students the different purposes of the media we see. These posters fit under the category of propaganda, which is meant to provoke others to act on an issue.
By pointing out everything that Gustavus is not doing in a way that is worded to provoke feelings, it makes the information not entirely true, or wrongly read, due to the fact that it is one sided, and other factors may be left out. This can be applied to the Nobel Hall versus the Center for Inclusive Excellence poster.
It can be easily misconstrued because the poster suggests at a glance that the college doesn’t value diversity enough to give them more space than “a closet,” while Nobel Hall had millions spent on it to be renovated.
While they are making a point that they could spare some dollars to make a bigger space, at the same time, it doesn’t take into account that Nobel is a building everyone can use and is inclusive for everyone on this campus.
The purpose of propaganda is to get people to act, but not necessarily in a positive way which can lead to more problems.
It can be agreed on that diversity is an important part to a college campus and there are some aspects that could be improved, but these posters are not the way to go about it.
Gustavus is all about community and these posters do not portray this value, as it causes more conflict and negative tension. Focusing on problems tends to cause more problems, and calling Gustavus out on the carpet for accusing the college of making students do the College’s work regarding the 22 student organizations that make up the Diversity Leadership Council, isn’t going to solve anything but rather make people more upset.
These posters highlight differences and break up the campus into segments rather than working as a whole. Lastly, these posters may cause uncomfortable and negative feelings for both students and staff that work hard behind the scenes to do what they have on this campus for students.
Gustavus has been implementing great new things this year that benefit all students and improving diversity on campus isn’t going to happen overnight, just as improving other issues in the Strategic Plan, or the Lund treadmills won’t happen overnight.
Compared to other schools, Gustavus cares a lot more about diversity and interacts directly with these programs instead of being all hands off to truly make the students do the work of the college as their poster suggests.
For those who disapprove with how Gustavus handles diversity, as harsh as it sounds, they didn’t force any students to come here and anyone is free to transfer to a school that provides more resources. But the community and education that we get here at Gustavus may not follow.