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Colorado student shares his experience confronting and overcoming censorship

(01/10/13 12:02pm)

In conjunction with the approaching 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's pro-censorship Hazelwood ruling, the following is a column written by Steve Marcantonio, a Colorado high school student journalist, sharing his recent experience with censorship and how he worked with administrators to overcome it. With a familiar feeling of excitement and accomplishment, I looked at the latest issue of my school’s newspaper and flipped it open to the page that I knew would contain my name in bold print, next to the title of Editor-in-Chief.



Former Famuan editors start "underground" online publication, Ink and Fangs

(01/14/13 1:15pm)

This weekend, former editors of The Famuan at Florida A&M University launched an underground website, inkandfangs.com, to distribute news during a suspension of the paper's publishing by the journalism school's dean. Karl Etters, who had been serving as editor-in-chief of The Famuan before being told last week that he would have to reapply for his job, said the staff of about 10 made the decision to create the site because they feel it's important to continue covering the campus. The Famuan's first issue of the semester was to have been published today, but staff learned last week that journalism dean Ann Kimbrough was suspending publication until staff completed training.


Student media speak up in defense of exiled Famuan staff

(01/17/13 8:10pm)

In the week and a half since the staff of The Famuan at Florida A&M University learned they could not publish the paper as planned without taking part in additional training and reapplying for their position, student journalists at newspapers across the country have spoken up in defense of the Famuan staff in several strongly worded editorials and columns. Over at The Arizona Daily Wildcat, Editor-in-Chief Kristina Bui criticized the decision by FAMU administrators to shut down the paper's printing after the filing of a libel lawsuit against the paper last month.


FAMU journalism division director speaks out about Famuan situation

(01/24/13 12:14pm)

As I mentioned in my Wednesday story, journalism administrators have been pretty tight-lipped since news broke that the school's dean had suspended publishing of The Famuan while requiring editors to reapply for their positions and attend training sessions. This morning, I heard back from Valerie White, the director of the school's journalism division.


Newly hired Famuan editor wants to repair relationship between paper and students

(01/24/13 5:32pm)

The newly hired editor of The Famuan at Florida A&M University said Thursday afternoon that she hopes to improve the relationship between students and the newspaper during her term, which will kick off officially next week when the paper begins printing after a two-week suspension by the school's journalism dean. The school hasn't made a formal announcement yet, but senior Angie Meus confirmed the news and said she was in the process of hiring the rest of her staff. Meus applied for the position after Dean Ann Kimbrough reopened the application process, forcing current editors to reapply for their positions and inviting others to apply as well.


Court cites Hazelwood to defend school's removal of religious reference

(02/13/13 7:17pm)

As co-president of the Taconic Hills Middle School student council, an eighth grade student had a warm message to share with her classmates at the school’s annual “Moving Up” ceremony in June 2009. “As we say our goodbyes and leave middle school behind, I say to you, may the LORD bless you and keep you; make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." But a decision issued last month from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York defended the New York school district’s right to remove that very closing line from the unnamed student’s speech.




Federal rulings in Florida, Michigan push back against Hazelwood's advancing tide

(06/25/13 9:00am)

When a student voices a personal opinion during school -- even during class -- that opinion is entitled to a high degree of First Amendment protection, and it may neither be proscribed nor punished absent concrete evidence that it provoked a disruptive reaction or was imminently likely to do so. That has been the law for some 44 years, since the Supreme Court decided Tinker v.



Florida state trooper responsible for University of North Florida newspaper theft

(07/26/13 3:30pm)

Last month, we reported on the theft of thousands of newspapers at the University of North Florida. At the time, editors and police hadn't yet determined who was responsible for the theft, some of which was captured on surveillance video. Now, the paper has learned that a state trooper with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has admitted responsibility for at least some the thefts. According to reports in The Spinnaker, UNF police recognized one of the two men in the video as a highway patrol officer, and contacted Florida Highway Patrol.


Bad taste, bad law: In "Hot for Teacher" case, federal court flunks First Amendment 101

(07/30/13 4:57pm)

By any standard, Joseph Corlett displayed questionable taste in a series of journal entries he submitted for a college writing assignment. Because of that poor judgment, Corlett is receiving little public sympathy after his Michigan college suspended him for making lustful comments about his instructor in a writing assignment. On July 23, a federal district judge found no First Amendment violation in Oakland University's decision to suspend Corlett on a charge of harassment. There is no disputing that Corlett's journal entries -- comparing his English professor to "Gilligan's Island" sex-symbol Ginger and generally "hubba-hubba-ing" over her appearance -- were unbecoming to a married 57-year-old businessman. But the federal court's ruling takes dangerous liberties with the law of the First Amendment.





First Amendment groups ask federal appeals court to overturn Hazelwood-based removal of Hawaii college student

(12/11/13 4:13pm)

Can a student be kicked out of a degree program at a public university because those in charge of his department think his ideas are outside the mainstream of his intended profession? That's the issue presented by a just-filed case before the Ninth U.S.



Spotlight shines on colleges' regulation of student-athletes social media posts

(03/19/14 1:14pm)

In a new law journal article, Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, makes a case for why universities shouldn’t regulate student-athletes’ social media accounts and online speech. “What makes social media novel and empowering — that it is an immediate, unfiltered way to ‘speak’ with thousands of people — is also what makes it frightening to campus regulators,” LoMonte writes. At a public institution, the First Amendment protects students' ability to express themselves free from government sanction, and the Due Process Clause protects against the removal of public benefits in an arbitrary way or without adequate notice.


Schools and administrators among those “honored” by Jefferson Muzzle awards

(04/09/14 7:23pm)

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression is out with its 2014 Jefferson Muzzles, the annual award it presents to those that "forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech 'cannot be limited without being lost.'" As usual, quite a few schools and administrators were recognized with awards. Among the honorees: The University of Kansas board of regents: After a journalism professor tweeted about the National Rifle Association following the September 2013 Naval Yard shooting, he was placed on administrative leave by the university.