Supreme Court decision on whether to hear ‘college Hazelwood case’ expected in February

America’s college studentmedia should know in a few weeks whether the U.S. Supreme Court will consideroverturning a federal appeals court decision that applied a high schoolcensorship standard to college and university student expression.

Thecase, Hosty v. Carter, arose in the fall of 2000 when a dean at Governors StateUniversity in Illinois demanded that she or another GSU official be allowed toread and approve the student newspaper prior to publication. The newspaper’sstudent editors, who had published stories and editorials critical of theadministration, refused the administrator’s demands.

Last June, an11-judge panel of the 7th Circuit, in a 7-4 decision, reversed a unanimousthree-judge decision that had upheld the students’ rights. In the Junedecision, the 7th Circuit majorityheld that the Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Hazelwood School District v.Kuhlmeier restricting the First Amendment rights of high school students,applied to colleges and universities as well.

Both sides and severaloutside groups (including the Student Press Law Center) have filed briefs in thecase and are now awaiting word on whether the Court will hear an appeal.According to the court’s docket, the Justices are expected to debate whether totake the case at a closed conference meeting on February 17 with a publicannouncement of their decision likely on February 21.

SPLC View: Wewill, of course, announce any news from the Court the minute we hear it. Thelatest information will be posted on our Web site at: We will also send our members a special LegalAlert e-mail when the Court’sdecision is handed down.