Fall 1996

Controversial 'alternative lifestyle instruction' policy repealed

Parents, teachers and gay and lesbian rights advocates have declared victory in the community of Merrimack, after a new school board repealed a controversial “alternative lifestyle instruction” policy. Read more

Oregon journalists win limited victory

The Oregon Court of Appeals once again skirted the issue of state free press rights for student journalists in a decision in a long-running high school censorship case. Read more

Satire earns suspensions for Wisc. high school journalists

No one was laughing about an April Fool’s Day column at Logan High School that was so offensive to some students it was confiscated by the principal less than an hour after being printed. Read more

Underground's fight ends

The American Civil Liberties Union is declaring victory in the case of an underground newspaper editor who was searched and suspended for distributing an anarchist paper at school. Read more

Tassle hassle: Editor defeats principal, graduates on time after ad controversy

A high school newspaper editor’s fight to attend her graduation ceremony ended peacefully this spring, after an allegedly anti-Semitic ad parody she put together for the school paper nearly cost her her cap and gown. Read more

Students protest, plan suit

A newspaper editor and a cartoonist are planning legal action against their school after the principal confiscated their newspaper because of a political cartoon. Read more

Public access to crime information becomes a personal issue for SPLC

For some years now, the Student Press Law Center has devoted a good portion of its time to helping college journalists get access to information about campus crime. Read more

Federal courts affirm student editors' power to triumph over bullying advertisers

High school and college journalists in two states scored victories this spring when state courts upheld their right to control the advertising that goes into their publications. Read more

Supreme Court decision could weaken states' attempts to ban alcohol ads

A recent Supreme Court decision raises doubt about the constitutionality of government restrictions on alcohol advertising in college newspapers. Read more

Ad harassment suit settled

A high school student in Modesto, who claimed an ad in the school paper was intended to harass her, settled her case out of court earlier this year. Read more

Georgia Tech battles advertiser, AG's office

A fickle advertiser at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) pursued a lengthy battle with the student newspaper over the paper’s right to refuse their ad, and then withdrew the ad before it ran. Read more

'Co-ed Naked Band' victory

Advocates of free press rights for students gained ground in their fight this summer, thanks to the state supreme court’s interpretation of the state student free expression law. Read more

Quote prompts destruction of Illinois paper

A 10-word quote by an extracurricular club’s vice president prompted the confiscation and destruction of the senior issue of the school’s newspaper, the culmination of two months of student effort. Read more

Controversial yearbook spread removed

Sex, drugs, violence, religion and racism are all issues modern high school students are forced to make decisions about, but according to one community, the discussion of these issues in print is “inappropriate.” Read more

Free expression laws kept from high school students

Millions of high school student journalists across the country remain without strong First Amendment protection under the 1988 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision. Read more

Attorneys for University of Texas System have advised its schools to impose high school controls on student papers

Eight years after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier — giving high school administrators greater authority to censor school sponsored student publications — one of the largest public university systems in the country is pressing to extend the ruling to college and university student media. Read more

Judge allows students' free speech case to continue after yearbook confiscation

A federal district court judge partially upheld and partially dismissed two Kentucky State University students’ claims that school administrators had unlawfully kept their yearbooks from them. Read more

Disappearing Acts: Student newspapers struggle against theft, 'recycling'

This spring, four more university newspaper staffs became the victims of an increasingly popular form of censorship on college campuses: newspaper theft. These four incidents bring the total number of thefts reported to the Student Press Law Center for the 1995-96 school year to 26. Read more

Prosecutors ponder the value of free papers after thefts

For free newspapers that face newspaper theft, finding suspects is only half the battle. As many papers have discovered, the real struggle begins in convincing university disciplinary boards and local police to prosecute the thieves. Read more

Texas student arrested for threats posted on Internet

So called “terrorist threats” posted on the Internet and allegedly linked to a University of Texas-El Paso student, were enough to have him arrested and charged with threatening the life of a public official. Read more

Decency Act thrown out until Supreme Court rules

A new law significantly limiting free speech in cyberspace is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, along with the fate of student journalists’ on-line rights. Read more

U. of Wisconsin hires 'network investigator' to police e-mails

The University of Wisconsin at Madison has hired a “network investigator” to keep a close eye on the electronic exchange of information among students and faculty. Read more

Nevada AG appeals open meetings law decision in secret fax poll controversy

The attorney general’s office has decided to appeal a county judge’s ruling that the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System did not violate the state’s open meetings law in April 1995. Read more

Judge finds lawsuit filed in time

The California Supreme Court refused in June to review a lower court decision to allow a student newspaper’s lawsuit against the Board of Regents of the University of California, who claimed it was filed too late. Read more

Toledo judge finds university in violation of open meetings law

A trial court judge sided with a University of Toledo student and the local newspaper in his May decision to open the school’s athletic director search committee meetings to the public. Read more

Court rules research records exempt from law

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in December that records kept by a state university on animal research are exempt from the state’s public records act. Dr. Scott Robinson was denied information on an Indiana University animal research project. Read more

Calif. AG limits media access to schools, drops parental prior consent requirement

School administrators can place reasonable restrictions on the access rights of off-campus media to public schools, according to an opinion released by the state attorney general’s office in June. Read more

Court rules Eastern Michigan Foundation open to public, reverses lower court ruling

A state court of appeals ruled in January that the records and meetings of the Eastern Michigan University Foundation must be open to the public, overturning a lower court’s decision. Read more

Pennsylvania student journalist and professor rectify IRS 990 access problems at college

Thanks to a school policy at a private school in Reading, a student journalist and his class experienced public records access problems first hand. Read more

National associations and researchers voice opposition to federal law that would limit surveys of students

Students should not have to ask permission before participating in surveys, argued a group of national associations and research institutions in June. Read more

Suit filed by North Carolina paper for access to campus disciplinary hearings

The student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has filed one of the first cases in history to gain access to student disciplinary hearings. Read more

House discusses pros, cons of open campus crime logs

A House of Representatives subcommittee heard over two hours of “eye-opening” and sometimes emotional testimony about campus crime in early June from a series of eight panelists, including school administrators, victims of campus crime, a professional journalist and a Department of Education official. Read more

Editors lose fight for crime info

The Community College of Philadelphia’s student newspaper staff lost their long-running fight for access to campus crime records when the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled in April that the college is not a state agency. Read more

Va. student loses suit to limit campus courts

A student whose case has potentially serious implications for the opening of campus court proceedings suffered a defeat in state court in May, when a district court judge ruled against her in a sexual discrimination suit against her former school. Read more

Editors go to court

After months of negotiations with the university, two editors from the Miami University of Ohio student newspaper filed suit against the school July 9 after the administration refused to release campus judicial records. Read more

First Campus Security Act complaint filed

A former student at Moorhead State University has filed the first official complaint under the Campus Security Act of 1990, prompting a potentially precedent-setting investigation by the Department of Education. Read more

School board replaces adviser

A high school newspaper’s year-long battle against censorship and prior review took a turn for the worst with the replacement of their adviser. Read more

Adviser settles for year of back pay

Bad timing and teacher’s union contract negotiations brought about a “disappointing” end to a former high school newspaper adviser’s efforts to regain his job. Read more

Controversial bestiality article forces adviser out of position

A high school newspaper adviser in the small farming community of Stanwood will be teaching her classes from a cart beginning this fall, as punishment for letting a controversial article about bestiality run in the school paper. Read more

'Butt licking' mistake draws $850,000 suit

A Virginia Tech official has filed an $850,000 libel lawsuit against the student newspaper for identifying her as the school’s “director of butt licking.” Read more

Hofstra newspaper sued for 'truth' in sex assault story

Hofstra University’s student newspaper asked a New York state court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against it in June, claiming that writers accurately provided information on a sexual assault incident on campus. Read more

Editor's firm stand on principle earns victory for h.s. journalists

Good things come to those who wait — a lesson the former editor of Mountlake Terrace High School’s student newspaper will never forget. Stacey Burns is one of a select group of high school journalists who fought a court subpoena and won. Read more