N. Alabama feels effects of Kentucky ruling after policy scare

ALABAMA — The administration at the University of North Alabama is trying to be the first to use the November Kentucky State ruling.However, the plan has backfired, at least for now, according to Flor-Ala editor Tyler Greer.A meeting was scheduled for March 2 where the school’s policy for prior review over the newspaper was to be passed. According to Greer, prior review had been practiced in the past, but was never put into policy. School officials were now citing the recent decision in Kincaid v Gibson, which said that the 1988 Hazelwood decision, which limits high school students’ First Amendment rights, applies to colleges and universities.The day of the meeting came, and the local newspaper ran an article about the situation at the school.”The day of the meeting we received a phone call saying that [the meeting] was canceled and that the document was canceled,” Greer said.Robert Potts, university president, had stopped the meeting and document. A subcommittee had been assigned to tackle the problem, so the president had not been involved up to that point, Greer said.When problems arose concerning the new policy, “someone assured [Potts] it was a First Amendment issue,” Greer said.As a result, the new policy was canceled and the administration “backed off” of it’s demand for prior review of the newspaper.”We’re the ones making the decisions and corrections. We are the ones in control and ask for advice when we need it,” Greer said. “This is not a completely dead issue, though.”The school will revisit the policy and try to pass it again next school year, according to Greer.