For the Media

Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been devoted to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the student news media in covering important issues free from censorship. The Center provides free information and educational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a variety of topics.

Media contact

Hadar Harris, executive director
(202) 872-1704


Press Releases

More Press Releases

In the News

  • Column: Student journalists deserve more protection, Tampa Bay Times (09/28/17). In a guest column, former SPLC executive director Frank LoMonte writes about the push for student press rights and the importance of New Voices legislation.
  • U. football crisis: Train wreck of a privacy statute made matters worse, Minneapolis Star-Tribune (12/19/16). In a guest op-ed column, SPLC's Frank LoMonte says FERPA student confidentiality makes no sense when applied to nationally prominent athletes whose disciplinary cases are already a matter of public concern, especially where serious crimes are alleged.

  • School Bullying, Civic Engagement and the First Amendment in Donald Trump's America, The Seventy Four (11/27/16). SPLC urges caution in resorting to disciplinary action to quell the nonviolent exchange of sharp political disagreements: “If it’s just a spirited exchange of opinions, by all means let’s embrace the teachable moment. You can’t make schools a civics-free zone, and you can’t ban the discussion of divisive political topics if people are going to learn to be participatory citizens.”
  • Salt Lake Tribune sues, says BYU police should have to release records. Salt Lake Tribune (7/12/2016). "When you voluntarily assume that authority, you necessarily have to accept the accountability that goes with that," LoMonte said. "There is an overriding public interest, never clearer than it has been [recently], in knowing how police use their governmental authority. If you don't want to have state government authority, you can operate a campus security department and ... call in city or county police when an arrest needs to be made."
  • Student journalist In trouble? Call this man. American University's Voice-Less Project (4/27/2016). Despite widespread attention to campus cultural disputes over safe spaces and trigger warnings, SPLC's Frank LoMonte says administrators' "image obsession" is the biggest free-speech threat on campus.
  • How One University is Punishing Its Students For Writing About Sex. Jezebel (4/7/2016). Frank LoMonte said administration's censorship of a student newspaper happens often. "There are some really successful high-end programs that are well-supported by their colleges that are doing amazing stuff. And then you've got other campuses where journalism is regarded as an annoyance and a threat to the college's positive image."
  • Denver student withdraws her art after police criticism. Salon (3/25/2016). Frank LoMonte said criticism from authorities might make young people in Denver less willing to talk about their fear of police. "However well-founded or not that fear may be, it's real, it exists, and it's something the community should be discussing."
  • Fight Over Private College Police Records. Inside Higher Ed (3/22/2016). Frank LoMonte spoke out against an Indiana bill that would limit the amount of records private colleges' police departments have to release. "Police power is the ultimate governmental authority. When you voluntarily assume that level of responsibility, you have to take the accountability that goes with it."
  • Yale's Men's Basketball Captain Reportedly Expelled for Sexual Misconduct. Jezebel (3/10/2016). Adam Goldstein said that confidentiality policies surrounding sexual misconduct adjudication often go against the Clery Act. "They say that everything about this process has to be secret, including the thing where we require you to agree to the secrecy."
  • Student journalists in state may get more free-speech protection. Seattle Times (2/14/2016). Frank LoMonte spoke about the New Voices campaign and the effects of the Hazelwood ruling, which he said "has evolved into a device for schools to suppress complaints by people who are dissatisfied with the level of education services they're receiving." 
  • Protecting Student Journalists in a New-Media Era. Chronicle of Higher Education (2/11/2016). Frank LoMonte spoke about the importance of passing student press freedom legislation state by state. "Censorship has always been a harmful educational practice, but now it's also a futile and self-defeating practice," he said. "While schools are nervous about newspapers, they are utterly petrified by how people are talking about the school on social media, and journalism is an antidote."
  • Free Press Advocates Oppose Jailing Media-Blocking Missouri Professor. Inside Sources (1/26/2016). Frank LoMonte said jail would be "overkill" for Melissa Click, but she should complete a service project "that informs the public about the need for journalists to have access to public spaces to perform their essential watchdog role."
  • Lawyer: Policy silencing council members 'unconstitutional.' WAVY-TV (1/14/2106). Frank LoMonte said a city council's policy prohibiting members from discussing closed session items with the public is unconstitutional. 
  • Opinion: De Anza students: Fight to keep your free speech rights. La Voz News (12/1/2015). Frank LoMonte said subjecting student groups' social media accounts to administrative control "speaks to the overwrought and hysterical response of educational institutions across the country to social media."
  • San Gabriel High students' journalism wins award, but you can't read it. Pasadena Star-News (11/13/2015). Frank LoMonte said the censorship and retaliation happening at San Gabriel High School is a "national disgrace, and the public knows about it only because these young journalists are unafraid to tell the truth, even in the face of intimidation tactics." 
  • The plot against student newspapers? The Atlantic (09/30/2015). Frank LoMonte said image-conscious colleges are taking advantage of difficult economic times "to rid themselves of journalists they never liked anyway." 
  • Body cams in schools? Controversy erupts after Iowa district proposes new push for transparency, The Seventy Four (09/08/2015). Frank LoMonte said this proposal is the first he's heard of. "Any time you see a new technology introduced that has potential to change the game for the application of discipline, it's worth watching," he said.
  • D.C. principal says prior newspaper review keeps students 'safe and protected,' Washington Post (8/31/2015). Frank LoMonte said a high school principal's threatened policy to exercise prior review for the student newspaper could be a violation of D.C. code. "This is a highly decorated program and darned if the principal hasn't made up her mind to screw it up," he said.
  • For student journalists in North Dakota, free press is getting a bit more free, Associated Press (8/30/2015). Frank LoMonte said North Dakota's new anti-Hazelwood law restores common sense to student journalism. "Student journalism is a resource to the entire school community, but too often students are told they're not permitted to express any opinions or expose any facts that portray the school in an unflattering light," he said. 
  • Private email use illegal? 'Hard to say,' The (Illinois) News-Gazette (8/11/2015). Adam Goldstein said former University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise's disclosure that she and fellow administrators used private email accounts for UI business is "certainly unlawful."
  • UH won't say what happened to 5 suspended fraternity members, Houston Chronicle (7/28/2015). Frank LoMonte said universities can withhold information only if it caused a person in the overall community to figure out who the students are. "I doubt very seriously releasing a statistic such as six students were suspended would cause the average person on campus to make a match," he said.
  • How university foundations try to avoid public scrutiny — and what reporters can do, Columbia Journalism Review (7/16/2015). Frank LoMonte said there is a strong public interest in the openness of donor information. "It's ironic that the institutions that claim they'll be unable to raise money if they can't protect their donors' privacy will engrave the donors' names in 10-foot-high letters into the facades of buildings," he said. 
  • Lawmakers seek to ban disclosure of student emails, Casper Star Tribune (7/6/2015). Frank LoMonte said if this bill passes, Wyoming would be the first in the country to exempt all student emails. "It’s fine to say that emails containing confidential educational information can be withheld, but it really makes no sense to have that as a blanket proposition," he said.
  • Removal of faculty advisers sparks concern about independence of student publications, Columbia Journalism Review (6/22/2015). Frank LoMonte said college newspaper advisers are often most vulnerable at schools in remote communities underserved by professional media. "If schools continue to play Whac-A-Mole with smaller programs, then the one-percenter programs—the Cronkites, the Medills—will be the only real games left in town," he said. 
  • A principal yanked a drug article from a student newspaper, so it ran online, The Washington Post (4/5/2015). Frank LoMonte said equating writing about a behavior with encouraging it would disallow students from covering a variety of topics relevant to high school students, including drunken driving and sexually transmitted diseases. "There's obviously a difference between exposing people to information and exposing them to a drug," he said.
  • Emails made public by Board of Regents dwindling, The Cedar Rapids Gazette (3/20/2015). Frank LoMonte said public officials often avoid a paper trail so that their actions are not scrutinized, adding that "a lot of government officials have their emails on a tight purge, knowing that they are subject to disclosure of public records."
  • Bill aims to shine light on police actions at private schools like SMU, The Dallas Morning News (3/18/2015). Frank LoMonte said private university police departments should have to abide by the same accountability standards as other officers. "It's scary to think that there are people walking around with loaded guns who can shoot you and don't have to explain why," he said.
  • When does writing raise red flags?, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids) (2/22/2015). Frank LoMonte said the key to responding to violent speech "is about whether authorities react in a measured way or whether they immediately go to arrest and prosecution."
  • UVa asking Congress to reform student privacy laws, The Daily Progress (1/23/2015). Frank LoMonte said a 2011 memo from the Department of Transportation effectively allows universities to share information in any situation where public safety is at risk. He said the rape of one student by another student - or any other person on campus - probably would fulfill the exception outlined by the Department of Education.
  • Uniontown Area considers discipline for players' 'I can't breathe' shirts, The Morning Call (1/16/2015). Frank LoMonte said a 2011 memo from the Department of Transportation effectively allows universities to share information in any situation where public safety is at risk. He said the rape of one student by another student - or any other person on campus - probably would fulfill the exception outlined by the Department of Education.