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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.


School censorship elevates Mich. students' message to the national stage

(05/24/14 12:00pm)

Blocked by school censors from sharing a thoughtful discussion of mental-health issues in the pages of the Community High School student newspaper, two Ann Arbor, Mich., teens were forced instead to settle for The New York Times and NPR's "Weekend Edition."Proving once again that censorship is gasoline on the flame of a powerful idea, journalists Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld talked with NPR's Scott Simon today about how they were prevented from publishing a column examining the effects of depression on teens and why it's so hard for them to talk about.Halpert was one of several students who agreed, with written parental permission, to be named in a story confronting the stigma surrounding mental illness that can, with tragic consequences, deter people struggling with depression from seeking professional help.