Administration seeks to manage graphic imagery on campus

An updated policy on the use of graphic images will provide an approved space on campus for images to be displayed.

Augusta McDonnell, Writer

An updated policy addressing the use of graphic images has provided a space on campus for approved images to be displayed. However, Diana Jimenez — the alumna whose display of mutilated fetuses sparked the change in the first place — is unsure it solves the problem.


Between Sutherland and Rose Halls along Sutherland Way, approved graphic images and posters may be displayed, according to vice president of student development Chris Grace. This location allows for students who do not want to see the potentially disturbing images to avoid them, he explained.

The approval of images is dependent on several factors, and no specific topic is being targeted by this policy, said Matthew Hooper, associate dean of students.

“It depends on the goal or intent of the image, we are open to anything within reason,” Hooper said.

President Barry Corey explained the difficulty surrounding the development of this policy in a recent “Corey’s Corner.”

“The tension is often between showing the horrors of injustice against exposing graphic images to unsuspecting passers-by,” he wrote.  

Jimenez doubts the effectiveness of this location. She said the designated area is an interesting choice because it isn’t highly trafficked by students.

“I’ve never seen any sort of display in that section of campus before,” Jimenez said. “I’ve seen things in front of the SUB, and the grass areas in front of Mayers [Hall], but never in that walkway.”


The student handbook explains who the policy is designed to protect in the displays and postings section.

All displays not suitable for viewing by guests of all ages, who often visit Biola, will be subject to restrictions of time, manner and location, the handbook reads.

Grace explained a large number of people were consulted about the policy change, including University Communications and Marketing and Biola’s legal counsel, as well as the dean of students and several associate deans. Tim Muehlhoff, Scott Rae and Tammy Anderson — speakers at a recent chapel about the power of images to reach people — were also consulted.

“We really wanted to put up some boundaries that would allow for balance between allowing certain images and those that might offend or hurt students,” Grace said.

Jimenez questioned the university’s concern about the impact of viewing graphic images on students.

“I’m not saying people won’t be deeply affected [by the imagery], but the ministry I work for, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, has done this at colleges for 20 years. They’ve never received a single report of a student becoming depressed over viewing graphic images in all that time,” Jimenez said.

Time and execution will test whether the updated policy will foster or limit students’ free speech, according to Jimenez.

“I guess we’ll have to see how the new policy is applied, permissively or dismissively,” Jimenez said.

The spirit behind this policy is to place a loving limit behind what the university allows, Hooper said.

“Our baseline is holistic care for students in view of the diversity within the student body. If there is something potentially offending or hurtful on campus, we care about that,” he said.


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