As March approaches, so do t-shirt sales that reflect themes related to St. Patrick’s Day. Some shirts are designed to reflect one of the themes promoted by the Center for Student Life’s t-shirt contest, while others promote values and behaviors that run counter to IUP’s mission and values.
Each spring, the Center for Student Life (CSL) receives inquiries questioning the rationale for granting permits for sales of t-shirts with messages involving alcohol, sexual innuendo, and/or misogynistic messages. Some shirts are sold without obtaining a permit, while others must legally be permitted for sale despite negative, offensive content. Some pictures and phrases have multiple interpretations (for example, does an unlabeled frosty mug contain alcohol or root beer?) and therefore are eligible for a permit. In a free society, on a public campus, “offensive” does not equal “illegal” or “unprotected.”
The following information is intended to provide clarity regarding the university’s role (as implemented by the CSL) in regulating the use of outdoor campus space and to also encourage all members of the IUP and Indiana communities to engage the sellers and wearers of problematic t-shirts in reflective dialog:
Center for Student Life
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline
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