Taylor Mall, the area between University Center and the Walter Cronkite School, is usually bustling on weekdays. There are students heading to and from class, people socializing and often student organizations promoting themselves.
Lately though, it seems there has been an abundance of people besides students and student groups. Taylor Mall has been filled with people petitioning for one thing or another and even non-ASU affiliated organizations have been present and asking for money. According to Elizabeth Apodaca, director of events for the Downtown campus, those kinds of people are not supposed to be in the Taylor Mall area.
“Anyone who is part of a student organization, ASU department or sponsored by one of the two is allowed to set up a table on Taylor Mall, granted they fill out the right form and are given approval,” Apodaca said. “Otherwise, they are not supposed to have a table.”
Apodaca said while those people are not supposed to set up tables, nothing prevents them from standing on the city sidewalk nearby asking students to sign petitions. She said it is up to students to inform ASU Security though, if someone not affiliated with ASU has set up a table or asked for money.
“Student groups are allowed to sell things and fundraise, but it has to be related to their specific mission statement,” Apodaca said. “For instance, (the Programming Activities Board) couldn’t sponsor a credit card company tabling because that has nothing to do with what they do.”
It’s important for students to be able to get to class without having to pause and politely decline making some sort of donation. It seems silly that anyone would even choose that area as a place to ask for money since we all know students don’t have an abundance of cash. Students should take more of an initiative to report when people are around who are not supposed to be. Our campus is small enough for us to know who belongs and who doesn’t.
As for the petitioners, as a journalist, I fully support their right to be on campus to ask students to support their causes. It’s their First Amendment right. However, as a journalist, I would also like to give the following message to my fellow journalism majors: Don’t sign anything.
There’s nothing wrong with supporting health care reform or approving of the fact that Arizona allows concealed weapons in bars. Whether you love it or you hate it, keep it to yourself. As a journalist, maintaining your reputation as an unbiased reporter is extremely important. There is absolutely no reason to have written record of your devotion to a bill, cause or any controversial topic.
Apodaca said Taylor Mall is supposed to be an area for students to promote their own work and a relaxing place to stroll through, and I agree. It should not be a battlefield of promotions and donations. I just want to get to class.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com