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Student Choices: My Poster; My Identity

Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009

This case, one in a series by the Ethics Center, raises a common ethical issue that students must confront: What to do when dorm room self-expression offends others:

Mary lives in a college dorm and displays a “Yes on Prop 8” poster on her door, showing her support for the California ballot proposition banning gay marriage.  James, her dorm neighbor, finds this poster offensive and demands Mary take it down.  James worked for the defeat of the measure and feels the “Yes on 8” campaign was homophobic and discriminatory.  Mary feels the poster is an expression of her beliefs and identity and that she shouldn’t have to remove it. 

Should Mary take the poster down?  Should the dorm director force her to take it down?