Appeals court votes to rehear Kentucky State Univ. censorship case

Sept. 8 decision upholding confiscation of yearbook and transfer of newspaper adviser vacated

CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals voted yesterday to grant a rehearing before a full panel of appellate judges in the Kentucky State University yearbook and newspaper censorship case.

The vote follows a request by the student plaintiffs in the case that the full court rehear a Sept. 8 decision by a three-judge panel upholding the confiscation and censorship of approximately 2,000 copies of the 1993-94 edition of the Kentucky State University student yearbook, The Thorobred, by school officials. The issues remain locked away in a KSU storage room. In its Sept. 8 ruling, the court also threw out the student plaintiffs' claim that KSU officials had acted illegally when they transferred the student publications' adviser to a secretarial position after she refused to censor a letter to the editor from the student newspaper critical of school administrators.

In reaching its earlier decision, the judges had relied on a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court case, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which upheld the censorship of a high school newspaper. This case, Kincaid v. Gibson, marked the first time that the high school-based Hazelwood standard had been used by a federal appellate court to uphold the censorship of college student media.

According to the clerk's office, the court's Sept. 8 opinion was vacated pending the rehearing.

No dates have yet to be established for briefing or oral arguments.

For more information on the case see the Kincaid v. Gibson page on our Web site at:

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