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2015 was a rollercoaster year for student media and First Amendment rights in schools. Review the year's highs and lows in the SPLC's recap post.
The Student Press Law Center and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have both sent letters of concern to the University of California at San Diego chancellor about the defunding of 13 student media outlets.
A federal appeals court sided with the University of Hawaii's dismissal of a student who made unprofessional comments that the university believed rendered him unfit to enter the teaching profession. The ruling appears to lower the bar for the protection of students' speech when enrolled in a pre-professional program, enabling colleges to remove those students even without showing that their speech was unlawful or disruptive.
Ronald McGuire, a lawyer who took on a student journalism press freedom case almost 18 years ago, is asking a federal appeals court to review en banc the decision over his attorney's fees.
The Ohio high court had previously opened up police records at private universities, but denied the request for attorney fees or statutory damages.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that it is too broad to exempt any evaluatory records of university faculty from disclosure.
Tim Tai, who was captured on a viral video defending his First Amendment rights against a no-media policy, was named the recipient of the First Amendment Defender Award.
The Tinker siblings, including Mary Beth, revisited Des Moines schools on the 50th anniversary of their armband protest to speak to students about their freedom of expression rights.
Patricia Roberts, who lost her job as the sole journalism professor at Delta State University in a round of budget cuts earlier this year, died from ovarian cancer earlier this month.
Federal rules require "research" involving "human subjects" to be approved by colleges' Institutional Review Boards. Overzealous colleges occasionally have insisted that student journalists submit their surveys or questionnaires for institutional pre-approval, violating basic principles of press freedom. The SPLC is urging the federal government to adopt a proposal categorically removing journalism from the purview of IRBs.
Students' First Amendment right to wear T-shirts with social or political statements is a fiercely disputed issue that regularly ends up in court. A new ruling from Tennessee adds to the consensus that speech on a T-shirt cannot be banned as "disruptive" just because it addresses an issue of social controversy such as LGBT rights.