Controversial poster banned on-campus
Theatre Council was instructed to remove promotional materials for “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” their final production of the academic year, from Seton Hall’s campus, due to the risqué nature of the poster’s content, according to Theatre Council President and the production’s director Bryan Lucas.
The posters and postcards, according to Lucas, were distributed around campus by members of the Theatre Council’s Public Relations Committee Monday and Tuesday. The posters, Lucas said, were displayed in residence halls and various academic buildings on campus. To his knowledge, Lucas said all of the posters were approved by the necessary people in each residence hall and building where the posters were on display.
The Setonian confirmed that the posters were present in each on-campus residence hall, except Boland Hall, as of 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
“I got an email this (Wednesday) morning, notifying me the poster had been submitted to the University Center to be hung up, but was being rejected due to the content of the image on the poster,” Lucas said.
According to the email sent by Mariel Pagan, assistant director for Greek Life, Clubs and Organizations, the poster was brought to her attention by a member of the University Center student staff who wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to post.
“The cartoon-like poster depicts the legs a woman in heels standing with a gun strapped to her leg and her underwear pulled down around her ankles, with a camouflage background,” the email from Pagan to Lucas says. “I have denied permission for the posting of this poster in the University Center, because the image used does not fall in line with the ideals of the Catholic Mission of the University.”
After being informed by Pagan that their poster was denied, Lucas said he had a meeting with Karen Van Norman, associate vice president and dean of students, in which he was asked to remove the promotional materials from campus.
“The poster in question was not respectful of our mission and was not appropriate for posting at a Catholic university,” Van Norman said in an email to The Setonian. “We are appreciative of the Theatre Council’s recognition of this and for their cooperation.”
Lucas said Theatre Council is cooperating with the dean’s request to remove the items from campus but that it could take 24 hours for the removal to be completed.
“I was respectful of her decision, and I am working on getting everyone to collect everything and discard them as quickly as I can.” Lucas said. “I made it clear I did not agree the decision and that while I understand the image was risque, I did not find it offensive.”
Lucas declined to comment on whether or not the poster was approved by the Theater Council’s adviser, Peter Reader, or another University faculty or staff member.
Annalicia Finol, University Center work study staff, outlined the process for approval of posters in the University Center. According to Finol, clubs and organizations need to submit three posters to the University Center: one for University Center records, and two for posting in the building.
“You submit the three copies to any University Center work study who sits at the [main information] desk,” Finol said. “Any work study student who works in this building and sits in this desk is authorized to approve posters.”
Joshua Lewis, coordinator for University Center Operations, said he could not speak for Pagan and did not know whether or not the posters had been approved by University Center work study staff. Finol and Lewis could not find the University Center’s copy of the poster in their archives and referred further requests for comment to Pagan.
Pagan did not respond to requests for comment before time of press.
Brenden Higashi can be reached at email@example.com.