Many questions about putting up flags on campus

Recently, there have been many questions from groups of students who want to show their support for Palestine on campus. Here are guidelines to what applies to gathering on campus and putting things up on the walls, to try to avoid misunderstandings.

MDU’s premises are locations in which to conduct education and research. Therefore, it is not okay to use group rooms for meetings about interests that don’t involve studies or research, regardless of whether it is about a sports club, a political party or some other important issue. It's not that the University does not want to take a stand for something, but that we should offer places that are available to students who want to study.

One exception is in the Higher Education Ordinance and this applies to student associations that are democratically structured and have the right to use the teaching premises at gatherings for their members (Chapter 1, Section 13).

There is a public area in front of our buildings where the same rules apply to society in general, which means, for example, that a permit is needed for manifestations or demonstrations.
We forwarded the questions about the premises that have come from students to our Campus Manager Peter Liljenstolpe to find out what applies:

Students say they are not allowed to put up Palestinian flags, what is your opinion?

The same rules apply to everyone on campus. You are only allowed to put up posters and other notices in certain places, such as our notice boards. This issue was about flags in a study room which is not allowed.

But the students say that Ukrainian flags are hanging up on the premises, and believe that different rules apply here, so what in fact applies?

The student group pointed out that there were Ukrainian flags on Campus but those of us who work with campus management didn’t know anything about this. We have large premises, we have a total of 1200 employees and 18,000 students spread over two locations, so it is difficult to keep track of what is happening in every location. When we were made aware that there were other flags, they were removed.

Why are the rules like this, why are you not allowed to hang things up?

Primarily, the University’s premises must be used for research or study. Often there is a shortage of places for studying during intense periods, such as before exams or when many people are doing group work at the same time. We don't want it to be the case that people who want to study together can't do so because the study places are being occupied by people who are having a meeting with their association or for socialising. Our main task is to provide the opportunity to study.

It’s also an issue of security. If we are not careful about what can be put up where there can suddenly be loads of posters everywhere. Many people want to reach students with different messages, ranging from advertising to politics. To not compete with important information about lecture rooms and fire escape routes, for example, we need to limit all types of notices and messages to specific areas.

We must remind one another of the rules that apply to our University premises so that everyone understands them, concludes Peter Liljenstolpe.