Court hears oral arguments in Kansas State adviser case

The 10th U.S. CircuitCourt of Appeals heard oral arguments Nov. 13 in its review of a lowercourt’s ruling that upheld the 2004 dismissal of a Kansas State Universitystudent newspaper adviser. 

The lower court dismissed the case,stating that the university’s removal of Ron Johnson, former adviser forKansas State University’s student newspaper, The Collegian, did notviolate the First Amendment rights of student editors. 

Johnson wasreassigned from his position as adviser in 2004 after the university conducted acontent analysis of The Collegian and found the “overallquality” of the newspaper to be lacking. 

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SPLCView: We urge all college student journalists and advisers to keep this caseon their radar screens. As one of the judges hearing the case noted during oralargument, the appellate court’s decision — which we expect will be handeddown in mid-2007 — could effect student media nationwide. The case coulddefine whether a public university’s removal of an adviser over objections tothe content decisions student editors have made will constitute an infringementof student editors First Amendment rights.  As we have stated in very clearterms before, KSU’s decision to defend its misguided actions in this case hascreated a serious threat to America’s college media. We can only hope the 10thCircuit now sees fit to undo some of that damage.