Universities impose restrictions on distribution of publications
GEORGIA–State colleges and universities across Georgia are making efforts to control non-university publications distributed on campuses under a broad policy developed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
One school has officially banned outside commercial publications outright, although administrators have been given discretion to allow distribution in designated areas.
Georgia Southern University’s policy, which will take effect in April, states that outside commercial businesses and all non- institutional entities are banned from “indiscriminately” advertising on the campus. All flyers, posters, pamphlets, and publications which promote business establishments or contain non-university advertising are prohibited from the campus.
Under the regents’ policy, non-university publications that want to distribute on campuses are advised to receive sponsorship by a student organization that will oversee the editorial content. The material would then be treated as a student publication, with less restrictions on distribution.
Georgia Southern officials said that publications are not the school system’s biggest concern. The school said the policy is targeted at on-campus promotional sales and solicitation, according to Connie Palfy, Assistant to the Vice President of Business and Finance. The school does not want any outside distractions for the students while they are on their way to classes, she said.
The university policy would allow distribution of non-university publications at one campus location, provided they have first been approved by the Office of Business and Finance advertising advisory committee.
Jay Knight, Jr., publisher of the statewide Collegiate Magazine, said that he believes the University System wants to control outside advertising in order to encourage students to patronize on-campus businesses. Georgia Southern’s policy states that “The Division of Auxiliary Services … shall be the only body empowered to conduct business activity on the … campus.”
Knight said he has not yet had problems distributing his publication in the designated area on the Georgia Southern campus, but recently encountered problems at the University of Georgia. After Knight installed and used three distribution racks on campus for three years, the building managers removed the newsracks in mid-February and discarded the magazines. Knight estimates he lost 5,000 copies of his magazine.