The editor of a student newspaper who exposed the censorship of a student
newspaper at a neighboring high school and a college newspaper that uncovered
the details of a lavish contract given to their former university president
received the 2000 Scholastic Press Freedom Award.
Nick Edwards, a former editor of the Stinger at Camarillo High
School in Camarillo, Calif., and the staff of the Muleskinner, the
student newspaper at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg received
the awards in November.
The award, sponsored by the Student Press Law Center and the National
Scholastic Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press, is given each
year to a high school and a college student journalist or student news
medium that has demonstrated outstanding support for the free press rights
A headline on page 23 of the Fall 2000 Report, "Mercury task
force wants to implement changes for Glenville State newspaper," incorrectly
attributed a statement about the motives of Glenville State College officials
in making changes to the newspaper to the editors of The Mercury
WISCONSIN -- Almost nine months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued
a decision affirming the constitutionality of mandatory student activity
fee systems at the University of Wisconsin, a district court judge ruled
that the university
KENTUCKY -- While the frustration of waiting for a ruling by the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the Kentucky State University
yearbook and newspaper adviser censorship case continues, lawyers for the
school may be the only ones still smiling.
Documents obtained from the university by the Student Press Law Center
indicate that the university had -- as of April 22 -- spent more than $60,000
to defend against charges that it had illegally confiscated the student
yearbook and transferred the student media adviser to a secretarial position
for refusing to censor the student newspaper.
The board of regents at New Mexico State University passed a new
speech policy in October following a lawsuit filed against the university
by a graduate student who was arrested for refusing to hand over leaflets
to a campus police officer.
Sean Rudolph was distributing fliers protesting the university's free-speech
policies when he was arrested for obstructing an officer on Sept.
WISCONSIN -- The chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh
intervened in a dispute between the student association and the student
newspaper in October, preventing the association from stripping the newspaper
of its funding.
University Chancellor Richard Wells told the Oshkosh Student Association
it could not take away the Advance-Titan's student organization
status, thus allowing the paper to keep its funding.
PENNSYLVANIA -- A student newspaper asked the U.S. Supreme Court
to hear its case in November after a federal appellate court upheld a state
law banning the advertising of alcohol in college publications.
The Pitt News petitioned the Supreme Court after the U.S.
The student newspaper staff at Southwest State University in Marshall,
Minn., suspects its entire press run was stolen by a religious organization
unhappy with several letters to the editor that bashed the organization
for forcing its views on the campus community.
Staff members at The Impact said they think all 1,500 copies
of the Nov.
CANADA -- The Canadian equivalent to First Amendment rights for
the student media took a blow in October when a judge decided in favor
of a Montreal student government association that locked a university student
newspaper out of its offices.
The McGill University Student Society, a student government body, changed
the locks on the office doors of The McGill Daily because it said
the newspaper's lease had expired.
The lease agreement was entrusted to the student society by the university
in the form of a student union in the early 1990s, and the student society
sublet The Daily's office space to the paper until 1994 when the
written lease expired.
MASSACHUSETTS -- The state supreme court said colleges and universities
must abide by the rules outlined in their student handbooks in a September
ruling relating to Brandeis University's handling of a campus disciplinary
Student press advocates believe the court's affirmation of private schools'
responsibility to abide by their own regulations is significant for the
college student press because many private colleges that outline student
press rights in their student handbooks fail to abide by those guidelines.
In the case, Schaer v.
MICHIGAN -- Eleven media outlets, among them the Michigan State
University student newspaper, scored a victory in September when the state
supreme court unanimously ruled against an East Lansing prosecutor who
subpoenaed the media's footage of a March 1999 campus riot.
Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings wanted the video and still
photography of nine TV stations and two newspapers to help build his cases
against participants in the riots, which broke out on the East Lansing
campus following Michigan State
WISCONSIN -- Reporters at the Marquette Tribune wanted to
offer a look inside Milwaukee County's election, and they ended up with
the district attorney knocking on their door.
Staffers of Marquette University's student newspaper responded to widespread
rumors of voter fraud in the state with investigative reporting that included
a survey of 1,000 Marquette students.
TENNESSEE -- University of Tennessee officials filed documents in
federal court in September in an attempt to avoid the release of records
the university claims are private and would cost thousands of dollars to
The ESPN television network subpoenaed the records, claiming they are
required for the network's defense against a defamation suit filed by Tennessee
football player Reggie Ridley and Victoria Gray, a former athletics department
Ridley and Gray filed their separate federal suits, each asking $2 million
in damages, last year after the network alleged massive academic fraud
by the school
WISCONSIN -- The September revelation that University of Wisconsin
officials had altered the cover photo of the school's 2001-02 undergraduate
application brochure prompted a state legislator to introduce a bill designed
to block such practices, a move some say would unnecessarily limit the
freedom of photojournalists.
Ian Lake called his principal "the town drunk." Ryan Lathouwers designed
a Web site where users made anonymous submissions ridiculing a professor's
Brian Condradt said 11 of his teachers worshipped Satan, while Justin
Swidler likened his math teacher to Adolf Hitler.
And Joey Harrison and eight of his friends published a parody paper
threatening to rape "the most fucked up teacher" on campus.
The common thread: They all ended up in court, facing charges of libel
and invasion of privacy by those from whom they are supposed to learn.
One case was dismissed.
ARKANSAS -- A junior high school student in the Pulaski County School
District was expelled for one year in September because of profane writing
he did at home -- but a federal judge reinstated him less than two weeks
later, ruling the school district violated the student's First Amendment
In September, U.S.
OREGON -- The attorney for a student editor expelled for publishing
an underground newspaper is taking the case as high as it will go in the
state court system, hoping to have the student's punishment overturned
and his disciplinary record wiped clean.
Jonathan Hoffman, attorney for Chris Pangle, filed a petition for review
with the Oregon Supreme Court Nov.
KANSAS -- School officials and two Lawrence High School seniors
with a bent for satire reached a compromise that will allow the boys to
keep publishing their underground newspaper -- but only with their principal
reviewing it first.
Co-editors Lee Dunfield and Brad Quellhorst said they could live with
the September deal, which requires them to submit proposed editions of
Budget to principal Mike Patterson for approval.
IDAHO -- After a recent debate over the role of underground newspapers
in the educational process, school officials in Coeur d'Alene enacted a
more student-friendly policy for non-school sponsored publications -- but
not without a few kinks.
Twelve years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark Hazelwood
decision limiting the free-press and free-expression rights of high school
students, student press advocacy groups are still fighting for the statutory
restoration of those rights in statehouses around the country.
CALIFORNIA -- Free speech on the Internet got a boost in October
when two City College of San Francisco professors dropped their libel complaint
against a student whose Web site featured less-than-flattering descriptions
of the professors' teaching ability and personal characteristics.
American Civil Liberties Union cooperating attorney Bernard Burk, representing
defendant Ryan Lathouwers, called it a "major victory for free speech on
the Internet -- and for student media everywhere."
Daniel Curzon-Brown, an English professor, filed the suit in October
1999 claiming that comments posted on Lathouwers' Web site defamed him.
Physics instructor Jesse David Wall joined the suit in May.
Curzon-Brown said he decided to settle the suit after it became apparent
to him that he did not have a winning case.
"The law protects the stuff on the Internet that it doesn't in all other
places," he told The San Francisco Chronicle. "It allows libel and
homophobic hate speech; it is open season on teachers."
The site, TeacherReview.com,
allows CCSF students to post evaluations of their teachers for other students
to use when registering for classes.
ARKANSAS -- Valley View School District officials settled a federal
lawsuit in August filed by a student suspended for the content of his personal
Web site, but all parties involved have refused to release the details
of the agreement.
As the battle over the Internet exchange of digital music rages in the
business and legal world, some universities have cracked down on such exchanges
on their campuses, while others pointedly defend its use.
The explosion of the Internet continues to send shock waves through the
American justice system, as courts mediate disputes between advocates of
unregulated cyber-speech and government arms seeking to control such speech.
In recent months, cyber-liberties have prevailed in one federal court
case, been limited in another and await final judgment in two others.
In New Mexico, state government officials accepted a November
1999 federal court ruling and laid to rest any possibility of continuing
their fight to criminalize the electronic distribution of material deemed
harmful to minors.
NEW MEXICO -- When a group of Edgewood Middle School students used\nthe Internet to post a list of other students they hated, they earned suspensions\nand spawned a debate that pits students' right to free expression against\nschool officials' obligation to protect their students.\n
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congress passed a bill in December requiring
many elementary and secondary schools and public libraries receiving federal
technology funds to install Internet filters on their computers.
The Children's Internet Protection Act, introduced in the Senate by
OHIO -- Clayton Telles let his creative juices flow over the World
Wide Web, but their current landed him in the principal's office and, after
being suspended, at home for a school-sponsored vacation.
The senior at Otsego High School in Otsego created a Web site, OtsegoSucks.com,
from his home computer in October.
CALIFORNIA -- The Department of Education began a full-blown investigation
of University of California System schools' compliance with campus security
regulations in October after a Sacramento newspaper published a series
of articles claiming the schools were not accurately reporting campus crime
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Education has found that about
340 colleges have violated the federal Campus Security Act since the law
was enacted in 1991, according to the national watchdog organization Security
Few schools have been punished, however, for failing to comply with
the law, renamed the Jeanne Clery Act in 1998, requiring schools to publish
annual crime statistics and make their police or security logs open to
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Education launched a new database
in October that it trumpeted as allowing students to access crime information
from more than 6,000 schools via the Internet.
VERMONT -- A St. Johnsbury newspaper has filed a lawsuit against
the Vermont State Colleges system after one of the system's colleges refused
to release student disciplinary information to the paper.
The Caldonian-Record filed a lawsuit last April against Lyndon
State College and the Vermont State Colleges in Washington County Superior
Court for violating the state's open-meetings and open-records laws when
the schools refused to release detailed disciplinary records regarding
crimes of violence or nonforcible sexual offenses that occurred on campus
in the past five years.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Georgetown University officials are reviewing
the school's current policy regarding the disclosure of campus court records
after receiving criticism for refusing to release details about the outcome
of a disciplinary hearing related to the death of a student.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Clinton signed a bill in October requiring
colleges and universities to make available the identities of all the registered
sex offenders who are employed or enrolled on their campuses.
The Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, which is included in HR 3244,
the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, will require
schools to give students a place to go to find out the names of sex offenders
enrolled at or employed by the institution.
Each state must keep track of convicted sex offenders and report that
information to all the colleges in the state.
NEW YORK -- A New York Supreme Court judge approved a settlement
in August reached between the City University of New York and two men who
accused the board of regents of violating the state open-meetings law.
William Crain, a CUNY professor, and David Suker, a graduate student
from the university, withdrew their lawsuit against CUNY after reaching
a settlement Aug.
CALIFORNIA -- The governor of California approved a bill in September
that creates more specific open-meetings guidelines for student government
bodies in the California State University System.
INDIANA -- An Indianapolis newspaper filed a lawsuit in October
against Indiana University, claiming that the school violated the state's
open-records law by refusing to release detailed information related to
the firing of longtime basketball coach Bob Knight.
In Marion Superior Court, The Indianapolis Star argued that because
Indiana University is a public institution it should be required to disclose
all information leading to Knight's dismissal, which was provoked by what
the university called "a pattern of unacceptable behavior."
Knight, who won three NCAA men's basketball championships during his
tenure at Indiana University, has been the subject of criticism for his
legendary temper both on and off the court.
University officials said they withheld information relating to his
dismissal on the advice of the state's public access counselor.
"We've complied with the law in all respects," said Susan Dillman, a
NEW HAMPSHIRE -- The Exeter School Board voted to make logs of Web
sites visited by students using school computers available to the public
in November after a county superior court ruled in favor of a father who
wanted copies of Web page addresses accessed by children at school.
NEVADA -- The University and Community Colleges System of Nevada
in November asked the state supreme court to overturn a lower court's ruling
forcing the system to conduct a public search for a new president for the
Community College of Southern Nevada
ILLINOIS -- A federal appellate court said in August that it will
allow two state newspapers to argue that a settlement between Lake Land
College and one of its former vice presidents should not be sealed.
TEXAS -- The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District must
release student directory information to the public, according to a ruling
by the state attorney general's office in July.
The district had said in April that it would no longer release the information
because of concerns about confidentiality and vendors using the data to