The SPLC has no shortage of role models. Hundreds of student journalists who fight censorship and defend their readers’ right to accurate news each year provide us an ongoing source of inspiration.
Rondray Hill was a special champion. As 2001-02 editor of The Current Sauce at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., Hill became our friend. After the student government demanded that minutes of its meetings fill the newspaper, he frequently called the SPLC for information about his legal rights. Even when the student government attempted to remove him as editor, he never waivered in his stand that no one could tell the newspaper what to publish. Eventually, the student government was persuaded, the newspaper’s battle won. Through it all, he remained an optimistic, committed journalist.
On May 25, three days before he was scheduled to begin a summer internship at the SPLC helping other students facing censorship battles, Rondray Hill died of a heart attack. He was 21.
Those who care about the First Amendment lost an ally on that day. But the courage demonstrated by his deeds lives on. The Student Press Law Center dedicates this issue of the Report to our hero, Rondray Hill. As much as we miss his presence, we will always be inspired by his life.