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Iowa community college newspaper under investigation — but not sure why

(11/27/13 4:45pm)

Students and their adviser at The Calumet have found themselves in a defensive position this month, but they don’t know against what and they don’t know against whom. Editor Molly Willson said Muscatine Community College’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action officer contacted her and other staff members for information about an article The Calumet published last month.

Student journalists at Iowa community college allege harassment, intimidation in First Amendment lawsuit against administrators

(05/06/15 6:55pm)

Administrators at Muscatine Community College also took actions to remove The Calumet’s full-time faculty adviser and replace him with a part-time adjunct instructor, modify the fall 2015 class schedule “to marginalize the journalism program” and reduce funding to the program, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

Relief for records requestors? Schools ordered to pay fines, attorney's fees in open records lawsuits

(09/20/13 5:29pm)

Violating state open records laws could actually cost you a lot of money, officials in Washington and Iowa have learned this month. First, the University of Washington was ordered last week to pay more than $720,000 in fines for withholding 12,000 pages of public records from a former professor who wanted to see whether she was wrongfully denied tenure at the University of Washington's Tacoma campus because of her gender or heritage.

Appeals court throws out Iowa student's "name-calling" conviction

(04/22/14 2:29pm)

The justice system increasingly is being asked to intercede in unpleasant social interactions involving young people that, once upon a time, used to get settled through a stern lecture and a parental conference. In Pennsylvania, police charged a 15-year-old with the crime of "disorderly conduct" for secretly recording students bullying him during school, a case that prosecutors recently withdrew after a public outcry. And in Iowa, an Allamakee County high school student was hauled into juvenile court and adjudicated "delinquent," the equivalent to a conviction in adult criminal court, for insulting remarks ("you fat, skanky bitch") that she yelled at a rival student while exiting the school bus. In a victory for judicial restraint, the Iowa student's case was overturned April 16 by the Iowa Court of Appeals, which reached the common-sense decision that not every upsetting remark can be criminalized as "harassment." In its ruling, the Court of Appeals found that Iowa's criminal harassment statute -- which outlaws speech that is intended, without legitimate purpose, to "threaten, intimidate or alarm" -- cannot be violated by mere insults.