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Proposal for the Repurposing of the Ministry of Propaganda

For background on this proposal, read the relevant Senate Beat.

Sunset Clause: This proposal will be in the fall of 2013. If at that time it appears the Ministry of Propaganda is no longer needed, the Ministry shall be disbanded.

The Reed community recognizes the challenges of maintaining a physical environment consistent with the values and mission of the college. One of these challenges includes graffiti in public spaces on campus. In order to foster a productive, inclusive discourse about appropriate expression in public spaces the Ministry of Propaganda, composed of students, staff, and faculty, shall be tasked with making recommendations to Facilities Services about when to paint over graffiti inside of public spaces on campus.

I. Membership

The Ministry of Propaganda will be composed of seven (7) voting members: four (4) students, two (2) faculty and one (1) staff member. Additionally, the Assistant Director of Student Activities will serve as a non-voting chair. Ministry membership should be updated at the start of each semester.

The student members should include two senators and two students appointed by appointments committee from the student body at large. Of the senators, one should also serve on murals committee. One faculty member should be chosen from the members of the Diversity Committee and the other faculty member should be chosen from the Honor Council. The voting staff member should be chosen from the members of the Physical Plant Committee.

II. Jurisdiction

The Ministry of Propaganda will make recommendations to Facilities Services about where to paint over graffiti on campus. Ultimately, such decisions rest with the Director of Facilities Operations (or a designee thereof). In addition to painting due to specific instances of graffiti, facilities services will paint as part of regularly scheduled maintenance.

III. Ministry Operating Procedures

1. Notification of Graffiti

Any community member may ask the Ministry of Propaganda to consider an instance of graffiti on campus by contacting the Chair and providing a description of the graffiti’s content and location. Pictures are recommended but not required. After receiving notification of an instance of graffiti on campus, the chair shall forward the documentation of the instance to the other Ministers.

2. Meetings

The Ministry of Propaganda should meet within two (2) weeks of notification of an instance of graffiti while classes are in session. The chair may call for additional meetings as needed. These meetings shall be open to the community at large. If a group or individual manages or signates the space where the graffiti is present, it is strongly recommended that such individual are invited to the meeting. If graffiti occurs when classes are not in session, Facilities Services may paint over graffiti in consultation with the Ministry. The chair is responsible for communicating with the ministry and determining whether to convene a meeting or to use other means to make a recommendation.

3. Deliberations and Evaluation

The Ministry is responsible for recommending whether an instance of graffiti should be painted over. Some factors the Ministry may consider in its deliberations include:

  1. The location of the graffiti on campus and who has access to the space.
  2. The content of the graffiti and whether it may cause discomfort, embarrassment, or harm to any community members.
  3. Any artistic/aesthetic value of the graffiti.
  4. Campus climate and context in which the graffiti appears.
  5. Whether the piece contributes to academic freedom or public discourse.

4. Recommendations

Following deliberations and evaluation of the effects of the instance of graffiti, the Ministry shall make a recommendation on whether to paint a given space. These recommendations should include a brief summary of the deliberations and specifically delineate what should be painted. Recommendations shall be based on a majority vote. A tie shall result in a recommendation to remove the graffiti.

5. Egregious Instances of Graffiti

In the event that there is an instance of graffiti that clearly violates community standards and needs urgent attention (e.g. hate speech), Facilities Services may paint over the offending graffiti without recommendations from the Ministry. Such instances should first be referred to Community Safety for documentation and possible investigation. In such cases, it is preferable to paint over only the smallest area possible to cover the egregious graffiti and allow the Ministry to make recommendations about any other instances of graffiti in the space.

Following deliberations and evaluation of the effects of the instance of graffiti, the Ministry shall make a recommendation on whether to paint a given space. These recommendations should include a brief summary of the deliberations and specifically delineate what should be painted. Recommendations shall be based on a majority vote. A tie shall result in a recommendation to remove the graffiti.

5. Egregious Instances of Graffiti

In the event that there is an instance of graffiti that clearly violates community standards and needs urgent attention (e.g. hate speech), Facilities Services may paint over the offending graffiti without recommendations from the Ministry. Such instances should first be referred to Community Safety for documentation and possible investigation. In such cases, it is preferable to paint over only the smallest area possible to cover the egregious graffiti and allow the Ministry to make recommendations about any other instances of graffiti in the space.

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