Spring 1997

When the medium determines the freedom old-fashioned censorship is often the result

Part of our mission at the Student Press Law Center is to relay the stories of student journalists and advisers who are frustrated by censorship. Read more

Same-sex marriage TV forum censored

The Montgomery County School Board overruled the school superintendent in April and said school officials should not have pulled the plug on a student-run television program. Read more

Live student talk show pulled off the air

Three minutes into a television interview between a student journalist at Lincoln High School and a transvestite guest in December, Dallas school officials yanked “Getting Personal” from the school district’s public-access channel. Read more

Extra-curricular activities cut in Utah

When the Salt Lake City School Board found they could not single out and ban a gay student organization at East High School last March, they voted instead to eliminate all extra-curricular student clubs in the district. Read more

Question marks raise censors' eyebrows

When the staff of The Pegasus at Chugiak High School upped its circulation from 500 to 5,000 and made an effort to cover some of the more controversial issues in its community, school administrators began censoring every issue of the paper, citing a never-before used prior review policy adopted three years ago. Read more

Middle school editor challenges policy

Sometimes the news is not fit to print, according to officials at Otsego Middle School. Read more

Fight story pulled due to privacy laws

After The Pony Express at Stillwater High School published an article in December about an off-campus fight between students, administrators stepped in and confiscated all copies of the paper, citing the state’s Data Privacy Act. Read more

Principal blocks anti-violence editorial

The principal at Copperas Cove High School stopped distribution of the November issue of The Blue Beacon because of an editorial urging students, “Don’t be fighting, be polite.” His reason? He didn’t want students portrayed in a negative light to the community. Read more

Principal rejects news story about himself

An existing prior review policy at McCallum High School in Austin had never been an issue before surfacing in December. Read more

Court approves 'review only' policy for underground student publications

A federal district court in Indiana ruled last July that a public elementary school policy that requires students to submit a copy of non-school-sponsored material to school officials for review prior to distribution did not constitute an illegal prior restraint because the policy did not “permit or require [school officials] to ‘approve’ the distribution.” Read more

States propose student press protections

Six states have passed student free expression legislation to restore free speech protections in the wake of restrictions set by the Supreme Court in the 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision, and six more have introduced similar bills this session. Read more

Court rules Hazelwood applies to teachers but offers some limited speech protections

A federal appeals court in North Carolina joined a growing number of jurisdictions when it ruled last October that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier applied to the classroom speech of teachers as well as students. Read more

A crisis in campus crime reporting

According to a long-awaited report released by the Department of Education to Congress, only 40 percent of postsecondary institutions that are required by law to compile and report statistics of crime on their campuses said they follow federal guidelines in defining campus crimes. Read more

D.O.E. criticized for compliance failure

A report issued by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) in March criticized the U.S. Department of Education for its failure to monitor institutional compliance with the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1991, a federal law that requires schools to compile and distribute an annual statistical report on campus crime. Read more

Reporter uses law to force opening of records after Univ. of New Hampshire student's death

After a reporter for a community newspaper confronted the University of New Hampshire with a state Freedom of Information Act request, administrators listened to their lawyers. Read more

Bill would amend campus crime laws

The sponsor of a bill that would amend a seven-year-old campus crime law says colleges need to be made accountable for the crimes committed on their campuses. Read more

Newspaper must open business records

A state district court judge has decided that the public has a right to see the business records of the student newspaper at Iowa State University. Read more

Judges, lawmakers diagree about tuition waivers

In the wake of a controversy over the allegedly improper distribution of college scholarships to Illinois legislators’ political friends, lawmakers and judges are disagreeing over how the state open records law applies to the confidentiality of scholarship recipients. Read more

Purdue wins battle over NCAA records

A state superior court judge has ruled against a Fort Wayne newspaper that sued Purdue University for access to grievances filed by the former women’s basketball coach and records of potential violations of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. Read more

Virginia elections bills killed in committee

Even before they were allowed onto the floor for consideration, the Virginia state legislature in January and February killed three bills that would have made public the results of state public school student elections. Read more

Student disciplinary hearings kept closed

A superior court judge ruled in December that the proceedings of student disciplinary hearings at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are confidential and do not violate the state open records law. Read more

Law brings closed hearings to Michigan

MICHIGAN -- In December, state lawmakers approved two pieces of legislation that give administrators at state universities the ability to hide portions of presidential searches from public scrutiny. Read more

Community college anti-harassment code rejected by Supreme Court, is 'too vague'

The U.S. Supreme Court this March let stand a lower court’s ruling that rejected a California community college’s anti-sexual harassment policy for being unconstitutionally vague. Read more

Proposed bill would require racial quotas for college student publications

Rep. Ron Wilson reintroduced a bill last August that would require state university student publications staffs and editorial boards to reflect the racial make-up of the state, regardless of the racial make-up of their school. Read more

Editor, adviser removed after printing photos

Officials at Jacksonville University removed student editor Angie Koury and faculty adviser Marc Charisse after The Navigator published a risque photograph of a male beauty pageant. Read more

Editors resign over censorship disputes

The warning bells first went off when the communications department at the University of Texas-Pan American announced it was taking the student newspaper, The Pan-American, under its wing to get journalism students more involved. Read more

Paper barred from writing about abortion

The Torch at St. John’s University ignited a debate about free press when staff writer Peggy Hoey wrote a column defending the right to legal abortion, bringing the paper head to head in a censorship battle with the Catholic school’s administrators. Read more

Newspaper faces new prior review restrictions after publishing photos with Internet porn story

When student editors at St. Ambrose University ran a news story last fall about a computer lab supervisor making Internet porn available from a university-owned computer they used some of the porn in question for illustrations in the newspaper. Read more

Editors quit to protest censorship

Editor in chief John Tedesco and three other top editors quit working for Logos at the University of the Incarnate Word as a protest over censorship of the paper. Read more

Unofficial student paper not welcome

Alternative student newspapers are not welcome at the College of the Ozarks, and Pat Nolan found out the hard way. Read more

Congress introduces free speech law

As single-sex organizations such as fraternities and sororities become increasingly unpopular on politically correct campuses, some universities have been taking measures to restrict students’ rights to free association by suspending students and withholding federal grants and loans. Read more

Newspaper thefts spark new solutions

In recent years, the Student Press Law Center has heard from hundreds of student publications that have had problems with newspaper theft. Read more

Newspaper theft bill moves in Mass. legislature

A bill that would explicitly criminalize the taking of free-distribution newspapers is progressing in the state legislature here. Read more

Communications Decency Act in court

The U.S. Supreme Court jumped into the middle of the debate over censorship in cyberspace this spring. Read more

State laws that restrict Internet contested

Internet speech is under attack not only by federal lawmakers but state lawmakers as well. Both Georgia and New York last year enacted state laws censoring certain types of speech on the Internet and other states are considering legislation. Read more

Federal court allows school's restrictions on access to Internet discussion groups

A professor at the University of Oklahoma who sued the school for blocking access to sex-related discussion groups on the Internet lost the first round in his legal battle in federal court. Read more

Appeals court allows dismissal of charges against Mich. student who published Internet rape fantasy

A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of charges against a former University of Michigan student who had sent “erotic fiction” over the Internet about a fellow student. Read more

Student suspended for private web site satirizing school

A 15-year old student at Athol-Royalston Regional High School, who maintained a private home page satirizing several of his peers and some teachers, was ordered by school officials to remove the material from his page in March. Read more

Virginia 'butt-licking' suit dismissed

A judge has dismissed a libel lawsuit brought by a Virginia Tech administrator against the student newspaper, holding that a story identifying the administrator as the “Director of Butt Licking” was not defamatory. Read more

Judge finds editorial not defamatory, dismisses libel suit against newspaper

A judge recently dismissed a libel lawsuit filed by an attorney against The Temple News. Read more

Student sues over photography mix-up

A student has sued the editor in chief of the student newspaper at Southwest Missouri State University after the paper mistakenly published a photograph of him, pulled from the university’s media guide, with an article about another student accused of sexual assault. Read more

Commission returns confiscated film, taking called 'legal but inappropriate'

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission may have acted illegally when it confiscated the film of a student photographer who was taking pictures for the University of Dallas student newspaper at a Groundhog Day party. Read more