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Appeals court: Former Valdosta State student's civil rights lawsuit will continue [Updated]

(02/07/12 10:02pm)

Updated 2/8 by Nick Glunt, SPLC staff writer. Original post by Frank LoMonte. A former Georgia college student who was expelled after he crusaded against the college president's parking-garage project can recover damages for violations of his constitutional rights, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday. The 11th U.S.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Hang on tightly to your FOI access -- the legislature is back in session

(02/21/12 5:47pm)

If legislative sponsors in New York get their way, it soon will be unlawful for college athletic departments to provide a team roster to The Washington Post, ESPN or any other national news organization. It sounds crazy, but it's the result of a pair of privacy-on-steroids bills, S2357 and A8474, filed last year in the New York legislature and awaiting consideration this session. These measures -- which began as limited and well-intentioned efforts to protect student confidentiality and morphed during committee hearings into something much more -- are emblematic of the mischief that sweeps the country this time of year, when state legislatures typically come back into session. A survey by American Journalism Review found that the number of reporters assigned to cover state capitols declined 32 percent between 2003 and 2009.

Students lose -- in a victory for a Michigan student. Court rewrites rules of free speech -- in a case that's not about free speech. If this makes sense, get help.

(02/01/12 11:19am)

A federal appeals court's ruling in favor of an Eastern Michigan University student who claims she was forced out of her chosen academic program, counseling, because of her faith-based opposition to homosexuality is being hailed in religious-freedom circles as a grand victory. And technically, a "victory" it was.

Indiana's HB 1169 risks unleashing zero-tolerance "government parents"

(02/14/12 12:28pm)

Unless an outbreak of common sense sweeps through the Statehouse, Indiana is about to become the most frightening place in America to be a kid. House Bill 1169, pushed by the special-interest lobbyists for school administrators, would unleash school principals to control essentially anything their students do – anytime, anywhere – that they disapprove of. The bill, sponsored by Rep.

Eastern Michigan "college Hazelwood" case may get further Sixth Circuit review

(02/17/12 7:43pm)

Eastern Michigan University is asking a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court to take the rare step of convening all 16 active-duty judges to rehear the case of a college student who claims EMU punished her for expressing religious-based opposition to homsexuality. In a motion filed Feb.

Hundreds rally for Bridgewater State columnist attacked over gay marriage editorial

(02/23/12 1:47pm)

It’s not often a student journalist is targeted with violence over something they’ve written. It’s even rarer for an entire school to rally behind them. Bridgewater State University student journalist Destinie Mogg-Barkalow, who wrote a pro-gay marriage editorial last week, was allegedly assaulted over her opinion piece.

Wild horses drag a federal appeals court to a generous First Amendment interpretation

(02/24/12 4:43pm)

Laura Leigh's "newsroom" is a dusty Nevada prairie, which she traverses in a battered 1998 Ford pickup in search of images for a magazine and blog focusing on the federal culling of wild horse populations. As described in a colorful Las Vegas Review-Journal profile, Leigh has become a persistent, if affectionately tolerated, antagonist to the Bureau of Land Management and those who run its wild horse capture program.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Don't take "no" for a public-records answer -- and don't take "copyright," either

(02/28/12 6:15pm)

On occasion, people in positions of public authority know "just enough law to be dangerous" -- not enough to actually get the answer right, but enough to convince themselves that they have, because the answer has lots of authoritative-sounding words in it. This is the story of one such occasion. Recently, the SPLC attorney hotline received what started out as an unremarkable call from a college journalist whose request to a government agency for public records was denied.