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Barnard College students must remove door decorations – to not ‘isolate those with different views’

Sometimes messages/ornamentations can have ‘unintended’ effects

Students at Barnard College have until February 28 to remove all dorm door decorations, or else school officials will do it for them.

The reason: Barnard doesn’t want students to “isolate those who have different views and beliefs.”

The policy pertains to “dry-erase boards, decorations, or messaging.”

The Columbia Spectator reports that in a February 23 email, Dean Leslie Grinage wrote that although door ornamentations can “serve as a means of helpful communication amongst peers,” sometimes they have “unintended” effects.

“We encourage debate and discussion and the free exchange of ideas, while upholding our commitment to treating one another with respect, consideration and kindness,” Grinage (pictured) wrote.

“We know that you have been hearing often lately about our community rules and policiess. And we know it may feel like a lot. The goal is to be as clear as possible about the guardrails, and, meeting the current moment, do what we can to support and foster the respect, empathy and kindness that must guide all of our behavior on campus.”

Students can request an exemption for “religious or other reasons” by contacting Barnard’s Residential Life and Housing.

Headshot of Leslie GrinageSome on social media took the decoration ban as anti-Palestinian. NYU professor Jacob Remes said the policy is “deeply messed up” as Barnard is “afraid that someone might express solidarity with Palestinians.”

Another said it was “totally insane and ridiculous” and claimed Barnard is fearful of “the 1% of rich donors removing their donations.”

Anthony Zenkus, an “anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-war [and] anti-violence” professor at Columbia, tweeted that the new policy was “horrible.”

On the other hand, despite the noted religious exemption, others speculated the policy was a move to ban mezuzahs, an ornament which includes verses from the Torah that many Jews put up in doorways to their residences:

MORE: Columbia bans ‘offensive’ social media comments

IMAGE: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.com; Barnard College

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