Winter 2008-09

Tinker still resonates today

This edition of the SPLC Report marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Tinker decision, in which the Court famously declared that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Read more

Md. high school, N.J. college students win student press awards

SPLC presented the Courage in Student Journalism Award, co-sponsored by the Newseum and the National Scholastic Press Association, to student editors Jaishri Shankar and Rachel Wagner, adviser Peter Daddone and Principal Debra Munk of Maryland's Rockville High School for their joint efforts in publishing a package of stories exposing gang activity in the neighborhood. Read more

Money woes hit campus

Across the nation college newspapers are either struggling with money or holding steady in a less-than-perfect economy. While college publications try to keep their advertising revenue and readership up to avoid job cuts and losing publication days, commercial newspapers have fallen behind. Read more

Speech rulings can impact media

In 1969, the Supreme Court established in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that students have the right to freedom of expression at school as long as their expression does not cause “substantial disruption.” But when some colleges and universities tried to govern students’ rights, those students took the matter to court and, in some cases, prevailed. These cases did not involve the media, but the court rulings may impact student journalism. Read more

Students find independence tricky

When former editors at the university-sponsored newspaper, the Chronicle, leaped to an independent, online-only newspaper, Quinnipiac University officials in Hamden, Conn., isolated themselves from the student journalists. Read more

Stolen words

From Florida to Texas, newspaper thieves are learning after the first free copy of a newspaper, if they do not pay monetarily, they will pay somehow. But theft prevention tips may help to thwart a thief’s plan and save the newspaper money. Read more

Campus crimes slip through cracks

On April 5, 1986, 19-year-old Jeanne Clery was asleep in her dorm room at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Another student broke into her room, tortured, raped and killed her. Her killer had entered the building through a door that was supposed to be locked but was propped open. Jeanne’s parents found out after her death that there had been 181 reports of doors propped open in her building in the four months before her murder and that students had not been told about multiple violent crimes on campus over the past few years. Read more

Sweeping under rugs

Sexual assault is a serious cause for concern at any university, and when student athletes are involved, the cases can cause a media sensation. Recent developments in an assault case involving two former football players at the University of Iowa in Iowa City have caused more than the usual furor. Read more

Shining a light on campus politics

This spring, banners and signs will adorn campuses. Students will stand behind tables around campus, handing out fliers and trying to convince passersby that their candidate is the best for the job. Read more

Student reporters arrested in protests at conventions

Hundreds of protesters were arrested in Denver, Colo., and St. Paul, Minn., during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, respectively, this fall. However, these mass arrests managed to snare student and professional reporters with the protesters. Read more

No joke

April 1 is traditionally a day for practical jokes like changing your friend’s MySpace picture, stuffing the toes of your sibling’s shoes with socks or resetting your roommate’s alarm clock to 5 a.m. Many high school and college newspapers also jump into the act, publishing an April Fools’ Day issue to skewer school policies and poke fun at the news they cover seriously for the other 364 days of the year. Read more

Then and Now: 40 years ago, Tinker and Eckhardt families solidified First Amendment rights for all students on school grounds

It was November 1965 when teenagers John Tinker and Chris Eckhardt were on a bus to Des Moines, Iowa, after participating in a protest against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. A discussion began about wearing black armbands to show disapproval of the conflict. Read more

Then and Now: Black armbands continue to raise important speech questions for students protesting issues on-campus

When Chris Lowry, Colton Dougan and Michael Joseph walked into their high school in Arkansas on Oct. 6, 2006, they did not expect to be filing a lawsuit against the school in federal court four days later. Read more

Rights undressed

As millions of high school and middle school students walked through the schoolhouse gate after summer vacation, many found their T-shirts were not so accepted by strict administrators and teachers. Read more

Two Thumbs UP: High schooler starts own paper

Colin Moyer, 18, has no current plans to become a professional journalist but felt it was his civic duty to start his own independent newspaper at his high school. Read more

Two Thumbs UP: Ensuring freedom to all

The freedom of expression torch once carried by former editors at the Daily Tar Heel was passed to a new editor to ensure that the legacy of the 2005 freedom of expression agreement remains at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But after a new chancellor was named in 2008, the agreement had to be signed again. Read more

Two Thumbs UP: Uncoding the redactions

Editors of the Eastern Progress, student newspaper for Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., scored a victory for open records in an appeal to the Kentucky attorney general that challenged the university’s redaction of information from campus police reports. Read more

Undefined attacks: Gossip sites prompt 'bullying' crackdown

If you did a Google search for the name “Thaddeus Grage” you would find the Indiana University at Bloomington sophomore’s name associated with some unsavory allegations on the anonymous gossip Web site JuicyCampus.com. Read more

From the pen to the masses

Twitter. It is a name many student journalists coming back from media conventions have heard so often. Read more

Ditching the "Red Cup": Have you been punished for Facebook photos?

Who would have thought that when Illinois-based Solo Cup Co. first introduced the red plastic drinking cup on Nov. 20, 1972, students would be getting reprimanded nearly 35 years later for posing in a photo with the telltale red container? Read more

Keeping your case alive after graduation

Although graduation day is traditionally a time for celebration and for new beginnings, it can bring an unhappy ending to the legal claims of a student who is challenging school censorship. In general, challenges to school policies must be raised by currently affected students. When a student graduates, a court may dismiss her claims as moot.[1] Several federal appeals courts have agreed.[2] Lane v. Simon, a 2007 case decided by the Tenth Circuit, illustrates how this mootness problem can present serious challenges to student press plaintiffs' ability to secure their First Amendment rights through litigation. But Lane also provided a road map of possible ways to overcome a claim of mootness. Read more