Va. committee to study public records exemption for university presidents

Lawmakers in Virginia mothballed a bill Wednesday aimed at closing a public records law exemption that allows university presidents to withhold their work emails and notes. Read more

University presidents in New Mexico push for new exemptions in state public records law

The changes would exempt documents that identity the applicants for any public-sector job in the state, documents regarding alleged civil rights violations and proprietary university research. The amendment would give law enforcement agencies broader discretion to withhold from the public records that could “interfere with law enforcement proceedings” or constitute an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Read more

Miss. bill could allow schools to punish students for off-campus social media posts

The bill would make it a misdemeanor if students post to social media to “intimidate or torment” another student or school employee. The bill would also criminalize statements — even if they are true — that are intended or are likely to provoke a third party to stalk or harass a student or school employee. Read more

Journalism program among cuts at Delta State U.

More than 80 students and faculty gathered in November 2014 to memorialize the loss of three academic programs in the Division of Languages and Literature — communications/theater studies, modern foreign languages and journalism. Read more

Board structure change at U. Connecticut student newspaper creates alumni backlash

The newspaper’s editor said they made the decision after university administrators said The Daily Campus would lose its funding if they kept their previous board structure because a 1940s state law says student organizations that rely on student fees must be entirely student-run. Read more

Administrators at Western Illinois U. suspend student editor from student newspaper for selling video of campus riot

The university's vice president for student services said the student reporter violated several sections of the student conduct code, including “committing acts of dishonesty” by representing the newspaper “without the explicit prior consent of the officials of that group.” Read more

ESPN sues U. of Notre Dame over access to police records

ESPN has filed suit against the University of Notre Dame, alleging the private institution violated Indiana’s public records law when it withheld police incident reports about student athletes. Read more

Fla. high school principal retires after students said she suppressed their online speech

Lucia Cox announced she had retired from Miami Sunset Senior High School amid allegations she tried to hush students who spoke out about the school’s unsanitary conditions, encroaching on the students’ free speech rights. Read more

Loyola U. declines to renew contract with investigative news organization

Through a two-year agreement, the university said it would provide free office space to The Lens, a non-profit investigative news website, if members of the organization provided internship opportunities, worked with students and spoke with journalism classes. Read more

Bill aims to protect North Dakota student journalists’ freedom of speech

Legislators in North Dakota introduced a bill Monday ensuring students’ freedom of expression in school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the media receives financial support from the school or college. Read more

President at Northern Michigan U. waives $300 fee it charged student newspaper for public documents

On Monday, after the Society of Professional Journalists, a local student-run media website and local television journalists raised enough to pay the bill, NMU President Fritz Erickson announced all fees for the public records request would be waived Read more

Bill would require Va. universities to disclose sexual assault reports to local prosecutors

The bill would require the departments to report incidents of sexual assault to the local Commonwealth attorney within 48 hours of receiving the report, providing another avenue to access information about reported incidents. Read more

Va. bill could restrict student journalists’ ability to survey classmates

The bill would require parents to approve any surveys asking students to provide “sexual information,” mental health information, medical information, student health risk information, information about drug use and other topics the school board deems “sensitive.” Read more

Appeals court reinstates claim former Valdosta State U. president retaliated against student over Facebook post

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reinstated on Monday a former Valdosta State University student’s claim that he was expelled in 2007 in retaliation for a Facebook post that criticized the institution’s president. Read more

Obama calls for federal student data protections

President Obama said the legislation, which is modeled after a new law in California, is necessary as digital learning becomes more prominent in classrooms. Leading up to his State of the Union Address next week, the proposal was part of the president’s recent focus on cybersecurity and privacy. Read more

Bill could increase transparency on U. Connecticut Foundation spending

House Bill 5054 was pre-filed by Rep. Gail Lavielle on Wednesday, and if passed, would require the UConn Foundation to disclose to the public every expenditure they make, the same disclosure requirements as government agencies. Read more

Student government at California university puts student newspaper on ‘temporary hiatus’ because of ‘quality and professionalism’ concerns

The student government at the University of Redlands voted earlier this month to place the institution’s student-run newspaper on “temporary hiatus” over concerns about the paper’s “quality and professionalism.” One editor at the newspaper said the decision to defund the Bulldog Weekly was retaliation for an article about a new scholarship. The story quoted a student saying the fund was for “rich, white males.” Read more

Fla. bill would allow universities to hire presidents, other executive positions behind closed doors

The bill would provide a public records exemption for any personally identifying information about an applicant applying to be president, provost or dean of a a state university or Florida College System institution Read more

Reversing district court decision, appeals court rules in favor of former Mississippi student punished for posting rap song online

An appeals court has reversed a district court’s 2012 decision that found a school district could suspend a student who uploaded to the internet a profanity-filled rap song alleging two staff members had inappropriate contact with students. Read more

Va. judge delays release of rejected plea deal in Washington and Lee U. manslaughter case

While he acknowledged the public has the right to access court proceedings and records, Judge Jay Swett determined the public’s access to the document would create substantial prejudice to the defendant’s fair trial rights. Read more