Controversial Posters in Dorm Taken Down (Vol. 60, Issue 4)
Angered by the unauthorized posting of signs by the Committee for Jewish Affairs nearly two weeks ago, YCSC President Daniel Billig ordered these signs removed. The controversial posters, which questioned the selection of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Senate Majority leader Robert Dole as speaker and honoree, respectively, at the annual Channukah dinner, were then quickly taken down by the co-chairman of the committee, Josh Fine.
In general, any signs or posters bearing the name of a YCSC-supported club or society must be approved by YCSC before they are posted. Although in many cases signs are put up without official approval, they are generally just regular announcements of upcoming events. However in this case, Billig argued, where the signs were political in nature, approval should have been sought.
According to Billig, the posters contained several problems. First, the use of the word “Yeshiva” in the message was a misrepresentation, because as a YC society, the Committee for Jewish Affairs must represent the views of the entire student body and not just those of the “Yeshiva.” Secondly, Billig felt that the poster's tone was inflammatory and would have had no practical benefit, especially considering the fact that the dinner will take place in just a few weeks.
The signs were also problematic because one of the fundamental “mission statements” of YCSC for this year is that “Protesting or disapproving of policy in the college should only be done with just cause and accompanied by alternative solutions for the problems that exist.” Because an alternative was not given, the signs were deemed unacceptable.
When questioned on the matter, Fine responded in a conciliatory tone. “After I spoke with Daniel (Billig), and he made it clear that this type of sign was not acceptable, I had no problem removing them.” He did, however, offer an explanation of his motives. “I do want to make it clear that the signs were not put up to anger the administration, but rather to raise the issue of the selection of Rabin and Dole on the campus,” he said.
As for alternative solutions, Billig offered one of his own to Fine. He suggested that a survey be conducted in order to better examine the feelings of the student body regarding the issue. If it turned out that thirty percent or more of the students disapproved of the selection of these two individuals, Billig would write an official letter to the administration making them aware of students’ disapproval. He would also recommend that student leaders have more of a say in these types of decisions in the future,
Fine concurred and expressed hope that the “for the coming survey will enable students to have input into the selection process to prevent such a travesty from happening again.”