Decision still pending in Governor’s State Univ. censorship case

A decision is expected any day in Hosty v. Carter, the much-anticipated college media censorship case.

An 11-judge panel of federal appellate court judges heard oral arguments Jan. 8 in the case, which could have a profound impact on the First Amendment protections afforded America’s college student media.

The case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit involves administrative censorship of the student newspaper at Governors State University in Illinois. In the fall of 2000, GSU Dean of Student Affairs Patricia Carter ordered the newspaper’s publishing company to refrain from printing The Innovator without first obtaining a school official’s approval of its content. The paper had published several articles critical of the administration.

The Innovator has not published an issue since.

The Illinois attorney general, representing the university, has argued that the law protecting the college student media is unclear. She claims that a high school-based censorship standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1988 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision should also guide judges when determining the amount of legal protection for expression on the country’s public college and university campuses.

SPLC View: It’s been about ten months since oral arguments were heard in the case so the appeals court is taking a bit longer than expected to announce its decision. What that means is anyone’s guess. The SPLC will notify our members as soon as a decision is announced.