Naked Woman Sparks First Amendment Argument Over Film Seizure by Illinois Campus Police

Alas, Northern Illinois University police just wanted to get a peek.

But student editors of the Northern Star convinced them that the law prohibited them from following through on their plans to develop and examine the film they had confiscated from a Northern Star student photographer May 3. The film contained photos of a young woman who had taken off her clothes during a campus debate on religion to prove a point and then ran away when campus police arrived. The police wanted the film so they could identify the woman and perhaps press charges, NIU officials said.

When student editors complained, the police returned the film undamaged and undeveloped. A photo of the young woman was included in a front page story on the debate that ran in the newspaper the next day.

University officials say that the campus police officers who took the film will receive additional training.

The Northern Star