Stanley v. Magrath

719 F.2d 279 (8th Cir. 1983)

In 1979, the student newspaper at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Daily, published a controversial “humor issue” that a district court noted “would offend anyone of good taste.” The board of regents instituted a policy allowing students to request a refund of the portion of their student activity fee that went to support the newspaper. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the university’s attempt to alter the funding mechanism for the student newspaper was content-motivated and violated the First Amendment. The court established a two-part test for determining unconstitutional censorship: the publication must show (1) that the school’s action caused harm to the publication (any “measurable loss” is sufficient); and (2) that the decision by the school to take action was “substantially motivated by the content” of the publication.