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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

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Student demonstrators in the rainy weather protesting outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Tuesday.
Photos from April 23 protests
Published April 23, 2024

Keep classrooms ad-free

The University should enforce its on-campus advertising policies.

College campuses offer an incredible opportunity for advertisers to market their products and services toward student populations. The University has guidelines for such practices, and limits bulletin posting and advertising to specific areas. These practices serve the University community and are protected under the First Amendment.

Each semester, however, there are instances of companies and special interests that advertise or target recruitment speeches toward students in ways that overstep University guidelines. These practices should not be overlooked, as tuition-paying students deserve an ad-free classroom.

Specifically, as the Daily reported Thursday, Uloop, a company that allows students to buy and sell books and facilitates apartment sharing, posted sheets of advertising on the back of chairs in a lecture room in Willey Hall. Also, in the same hall, a recruiter from College Pro Painters was allowed to take time from a lecture course to speak to students about signing up with the company.

Although these practices are considered legal, we believe they should not be permitted under University policy. We as students pay a hefty amount to attend class. Advertising and marketing of this kind are just nuisances, taking time away from students engaging in the course.

Companies that wish to reach students have a vast array of marketing possibilities around campus, but the classroom should be a protected academic space. Although it’s very difficult for the University to ensure that its policies are being upheld in every classroom, there should be a stronger effort to keep classrooms as noncommercial spaces, and to protect students from marketing schemes and companies with a past of misleading students, like College Pro.

The University should place strong restrictions on advertising practices, and each company that wishes to market on campus should have a copy of these regulations. If they overstep their boundaries, they should be sanctioned. Professors should enforce University policy by not allowing special interests not related to the course in the classroom.

Advertising is a part of everyday life, but when we enter a space of academia it should be left at the door.

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