Student paper decides to stop lawsuit seeking access to presidential candidate interviews

SOUTH DAKOTA — The South Dakota State University Collegian has voluntarily halted its lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction against the university’s board of regents because the presidential candidate interviews it sought to open have been completed.

“We’re not taking further action based on advice from our lawyer,” Collegian Editor in Chief Jeremy Fugleberg said. “Basically we got what we asked for and at this point it is moot.”

Last week, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the board allowing student journalists to sit in and report on the school’s presidential candidate interviews after the board of regents had closed them to the media. A second hearing was to be held Sept. 19.

But the board relented, eventually opening the interviews to all media, Fugleberg said. The interviews were completed Sept. 15.

John Arneson, the Collegian‘s lawyer, said a permanent injunction would be a waste of both parties’ time and money.

“This is not the kind of case that you want to seek a permanent injunction because each case is different,” Arneson said. “A similar situation might arise in a different place at a different time.”

The reason for a second hearing was to cover the possibility of candidate interviews being postponed, Arneson said.

“Basically, the board gave [an] unconditional surrender and they’ve not threatened to do it anymore,” Arneson said.

Fugleberg also said he will file a complaint to the state’s open meetings commission stemming from an incident where he was ejected from a lunch meeting with presidential candidates last week after the board voted to go into executive session. Fugleberg said the board violated the restraining order by going into executive session without a formal announcement.