Policy Statement

This policy sets forth rules regarding the posting and other distribution of physical material at Amherst College in a way that appropriately and safely utilizes available space, prevents defacement of college property, and reduces unnecessary expenditures of college resources used to repair and/or replace college property. The parameters set forth in this policy respect and encourage freedom of expression, more specifically the promotion of events and the promotion of ideas through general awareness campaigns. The policy is not intended to censor the expression of ideas; rather it sets forth reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of postings as contemplated under both the college’s Statement on Academic and Expressive Freedom and the Statement of Freedom of Expression and Dissent.


This policy applies to all Amherst College students and student groups. Although this policy does not specifically apply to faculty and staff of Amherst College, they are strongly encouraged to employ the guidance of this policy.


Designated Posting Spaces – spaces (such as bulletin boards, posting kiosks, or other explicitly-approved locations) that have been provided and designated by the college specifically for the purpose of affixing postings. A complete list of designated posting spaces is included in Appendix A of this policy. Designated Posting Spaces fall into four different categories: 1) academic department posting spaces; 2) residential posting spaces; 3) administrative building posting spaces; and 4) Student Life posting spaces.

Designated Posting Space Manager – individual faculty members or staff members at the college who are responsible for managing a particular designated posting space. A complete list of the designated posting space manager(s) for each space is included in Appendix A of this policy. All references to “designating posting space manager” refer to the designated posting space manager(s), or their respective designees, for the specific designated posting space being utilized.

Lawn Displays – free-standing signs, sandwich boards, A-frames, and other physical installations or displays that are primarily intended for: 1) giving directions, noting the location of an event, or advertising an event; or 2) an awareness-raising campaign.

Posting – for purposes of this policy, a “posting” includes all methods of mass-distributing information in physical or hardcopy form, including, but not limited to, posters, fliers, table tents, signs, banners, chalked messages, lawn displays, and any other methods that the college determines are subject to this policy.


A. General Rules (applicable to all postings except where specifically noted)

The following rules and restrictions apply to all postings on the Amherst College campus or any other property owned by Amherst College: 

  1. Eligibility to Post
    1. Only Amherst College students and student groups, excluding unrecognized student organizations, are permitted to post on campus without advance permission. For the avoidance of doubt: students of the other Five Colleges, prospective students, former students, visitors, and friends of Amherst College students are not permitted to post on campus without advance permission of the designated posting space manager for each designated posting space utilized.
  2. Location
    1. Postings may be affixed only to designated posting spaces as set forth in Appendix A. Only one posting about a particular event or general-awareness campaign is permitted in a designated posting space at any given time, unless otherwise approved in advance by the designated posting space manager. Unless otherwise approved in advance by the designated posting space manager postings in designated posting spaces must be no larger than 11 inches by 17 inches.
    2. Postings may not cover any other existing posting, regardless of whether the covered posting has expired. 
  3. Content
    1. For students acting as individuals (e., not representing a student group): postings must respect the Amherst College Student Code of Conduct . The name and Amherst College email address for each individual responsible for the posting must be included on the posting.
    2. For student groups: postings must respect the Amherst College Student Code of Conduct and must be related to the mission and functions of the student group. The name and Amherst College email address of each student group responsible for the posting must be included on the posting. If the registered student group does not have an Amherst College email address, the name and Amherst College email address of at least one member of the organization must be included on the posting.
    3. Falsely identifying a student or student group as responsible for a posting is prohibited.
    4. If the posting promotes a specific event, the event must be identified by title/subject, date, time, location, and sponsoring organization.
    5. If the posting does not promote a specific event, but rather is in the nature of an awareness-raising campaign, it must include an expiration date that is no later than two weeks from the date the posting occurs. A duplicate posting cannot be used to replace an expired posting within the same semester without the express written permission of the designated posting space manager.
    6. Business and commercial advertising is not permitted without advance approval by the designated posting space manager and is also subject to the rules set forth in the Student Code of Conduct, Section 7.19 – Solicitation.
  4. Removal of Postings
    1. The college retains the discretion to remove any posting that does not comply with this policy.
    2. The student(s) or student group(s) identified in the posting is responsible for removal of the posting on the earlier of: 1) two weeks from the date the posting first occurred; or 2) the day after the date of the specific event (if any) listed in the posting.
    3. The removal by any student of any posting that otherwise complies with this policy prior to the dates specified above is prohibited.

B. Specific Rules Applicable to Chalking

  1. Only chalkboard or sidewalk chalk is permitted. Chalking using oil pastels and other types of non-water-soluble chalks is prohibited.
  2. Chalking is permitted on sidewalks and roadways, provided that:
    1. the sidewalk or roadway being chalked is uncovered; and
    2. the chalking is limited to an area where the chalk can be washed away by rain.
  3. Chalking upon any other surface, including, but not limited to, a building, statue, or natural feature of the campus (g., trees), is prohibited.
  4. Messages in chalk are exempt from the following requirements otherwise applicable to postings:
    1. Sections A.3.a and A.3.b (requiring identification of the student(s) or student group(s) responsible for the chalking); provided that the student(s) or student group responsible for the chalking must notify the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, the director of Residential Life, and/or the Dean of Students of the intent to chalk at least 24 hours prior to the chalking.
    2. Section A.4.b (requiring timely removal of postings).

C. Specific Rules for Banners

  1. Exterior and interior banners, including those on residence halls, are permitted only in locations that are explicitly approved by and installed by appropriate college personnel, such as the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, Facilities staff, or the Dean of Students or designee.
  2. Interior banners must comply with applicable fire safety regulations.

D. Specific Rules for Lawn Displays

  1. Lawn displays must not interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  2. Lawn displays (particularly those along Route 9) must comply with Town of Amherst bylaws, as applicable.
  3. Lawn displays related to a specific event are permitted on the day(s) of the event, and must be removed within two hours of the conclusion of the event.
  4. Lawn displays that are used for awareness-raising campaigns must be approved in advance by the Dean of Students or designee.
  5. Students who are intending to use lawn displays are encouraged to contact the Supervisor of Landscape and Grounds to avoid conflicts with lawn maintenance crew schedules. The college reserves the discretion to remove lawn displays at any time.

 E. Violations

Failure by a student or student group to comply with this policy may result in the loss of all posting privileges. Furthermore, any student who violates this policy or applicable law may be subject to the college’s formal conflict resolution processes and sanctions – depending on the severity and nature of the violation (including whether the individual has been previously warned or sanctioned for violating this policy).

Nothing in this policy restricts the discretion of the college to separately address and/or remove postings that are not otherwise within the scope of this policy.

Appendix A: List of Designated Posting Spaces and Procedures 

Poster Distribution

Student-generated event posters can be delivered to The Communications Coordinator at 79 South Pleasant Street, 3rd floor for dispersion across campus (50 locations). Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis but the deadline each week for Wednesday distribution is Tuesday by 4:30 p.m. Students must print their own posters and can provide up to 50 copies for distribution. College workers will both hang and remove posters.

Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards that are designated posting spaces are available across campus and are labeled according to four designations:

  1. Community Board: available for use by all eligible persons (see Section A.1.a on eligibility to post). The following buildings contain labeled community boards:
    1. Residence halls
    2. Arms Music Center (lobby)
    3. Beneski Earth Sciences
    4. Converse Hall (1st floor, main entrance, and hallway outside president’s office)
    5. Frost Library (1st floor)
    6. Johnson Chapel (basement)
    7. Keefe Campus Center (main entrance)
    8. Seeley Mudd (lobby)
    9. Valentine (main entrance)
    10. Webster Center  
  2. For RC Use Only: reserved for use by residence life staff. Community posters placed on these boards will be removed.
  3. Reserved for Academic Programs: students have limited access to the following boards designated for Academic Programs:
    1. Admission office – bring posters to front desk.
    2. Barrett Hall – bring posters to Room 101.
    3. Chapin Hall – bring posters to Room 108.
    4. Cooper House – bring posters to Room 208.
    5. Grosvenor House – bring posters to Room 15.
    6. Service Building – bring posters to Room 201.
  4. Reserved for Student Engagement and Leadership:
    1. Keefe Campus Center – check with building manager in lobby.

Posting Space Managers

  1. Academic department posting spaces (including Arms Music Center, the Beneski Earth Sciences Building, Seeley Mudd, and Webster Center): Academic Department Coordinators
  2. Residence hall posting spaces: Residential Counselors
  3. Administrative building posting spaces:
    1. First floor, Converse Hall: Receptionist, President’s Office
    2. Frost Library: Librarian of the College or designee
    3. Valentine Dining Hall: Director of Dining Services, or designee (Manager of Dining Services and Student Dining)
  4. Student Life posting spaces: Office of Student Affairs or Student Engagement and Leadership


Student-generated interior banners may be posted in locations explicitly approved by the designated posting space manager and installed by appropriate college personnel. Student-generated exterior banners may be posted on the following buildings when approved by the designated posting space manager and installed by appropriate college personnel:

  1. Frost Library entry canopy (Librarian of the College or designee)
  2. Valentine entry (Director of Dining Services or designee)
  3. Keefe Campus Center entry (Director of Student Engagement and Leadership or designee)
  4. Athletics entry (Athletics Director or designee)
  5. Powerhouse (Director of Student Activities or designee)