Stanford Review - Archive - Volume XXVII - Issue 3 - News
University Selectively Bans Review Distribution in Undergrad Dorms
by Sam Shapero and Nels Hansen
Director of Residential Education Jane Camarillo sent a notice to every Residential Advisor on Thursday, October 8th, stating, "The Stanford Review staff was found sliding their paper under resident doors tonight in one of the houses. This is not allowed in any of the residences because it is forcing a publication into a private space rather than allowing students to take it as their choice."
She continued, "If you see a stranger sliding publications/flyers/etc. under doors, call the police immediately." Ms. Camarillo's directive bans door-to-door distribution in every dorm by anyone except the house staff.
"The current door-to-door distribution policy isn't written," Ms. Camarillo later told the Review in reference to this email. "All publications (flyers, newspapers, etc.) were restricted from this kind of distribution in order to be equitable to all organizations, because it was perceived that some groups were being selectively discriminated against."
"In practice, there are certain things that student groups or outside groups do that don't follow the policy. When this is brought to my attention, my job is to make sure that the policy is obeyed."
Ms. Camarillo's email followed a complaint from the Residential Fellow of Serra house, Ross Schacter. He complained that staff members of the Stanford Review were sliding newspapers under doors of residents, saying this violated a posted Serra policy, "Materials unaffiliated with the University may not be distributed room to room. Please leave them in the lobby."
Mr. Schacter accosted Review distributor Nels Hansen after receiving a copy of the review under his door. "You're littering in our dorm," Mr. Schacter said in reference to Mr. Hansen's distribution of the Review. Mr. Schacter then stopped Mr. Hansen's further distribution of the newspaper and kept him waiting for the next half-hour. Later, he discussed the problem with Mr. Hansen and Review Editor-in-Chief Scott Rasmussen. Mr. Schacter said, "If we saw the Chappie distributors, we would ask them not to distribute, but we're not going to enforce the policy against them after the fact."
"The reason why we have this policy in the first place is that a few years ago there was an article very critical of a fellow RF [Burciaga] which was slid under doors," Mr. Schacter continued. "My impression is that the Review has been more sensitive in recent years."
The Student Activities Handbook specifies that "Each residence must have a policy for distribution of materials in the residence. Your policy should be clear and centrally posted so that it is clearly visible when entering the house. Your policy should in no way be based on content - overtly or covertly - that is, it is not appropriate to have a policy, which prohibits distribution of materials because of their content. Your policy should be simple and functional. At a minimum, you need some non-obtrusive way for materials to be left in residences and made available to students. And finally, you should carry out your policy consistently."
No policy banning door-to-door distribution had been enforced before Ms. Camarillo's October 8th decision, either within Serra or on campus in general. Several Serra students received the Chaparral, Stanford's humor magazine at their door.
"They stuck a Chaparral under the door," said Serra Freshman Mike Brooks, brandishing a copy as proof.
"I got the Unofficial Guide to Stanford, and The Good Life," said Junior Toru Mino. "[The Guide to] the Good Life was delivered about a week ago."
The new guideline would ban all of these publications from their most direct access to their readers, under threat of arrest. Three weeks after the fact, none of the affected publications had been officiallly notified, either by Camarillo or Stanford's Office of Student Activities.
In response to unofficial notification from the Review, the editors of the Chaparral brushed it off, expecting that enforcement of Camarillo's directive would be limited to Review distributors. "The thoughts of the Chappie on this issue are best summed up by the following:," said Geoff Schaefer, the Chaparral's Editor-in-Chief. "Once there was a student and a master. Everytime the student asked the master a question, the master responded by extending his thumb and saying 'Ha.' The student figured that to be enlightened, all he would have to do was answer every question in the method of his master. The next time the master asked the student a question, the student extended his thumb and said 'Ha.' The master promptly cut off the student's thumb and said, 'If you are not enlightened, do not speak the words of enlightenment.' Upon hearing this, the student was enlightened."
According to the Chaparral, the Review will be "enlightened" whether it likes it or not. The issue is not closed, however. Camarillo told the Review that she plans to address door-to-door distribution at the next meeting of Resident Fellows. "We will invite student group leaders to the next Resident Fellow/College Director meeting in November so that they can explain their perspective on door-to-door distribution. RF/CD's will decide whether individual houses can elect to receive materials under their doors."
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