In light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Hosty v. Carter (see our Hosty information page for details), press freedom at public colleges and universities in the 7th Circuit states of Indiana and Wisconsin is at risk.
However, the Hosty decision makes clear that those student publications that are operating as “designated public forums” where student editors have been given authority to determine content will have strong First Amendment protections when school officials attempt to censor them. Thus the Student Press Law Center is joining with student journalists, journalism educators and working journalists to demand that all public colleges and universities in Indiana and Wisconsin go on the record regarding their support for student press freedom.
We are urging student journalists on each campus listed below to ask their school administrator to immediately adopt a statement that recognizes campus student news organizations are designated public forums. Such a statement should include language similar to one of the following:
[Name of student news media organization] is a designated public forum. Student editors have the authority to make all content decisions without censorship or advance approval.
If using this version, a separate statement will be needed to protect each student news organizations on campus. Don’t forget yearbooks, magazines, television and radio stations and online media.
All student-edited campus media are recognized as designated public forums. Student editors have the authority to make all content decisions without censorship or advance approval.
Such a policy statement should be signed by a school administrator. Verbal statements will not necessarily indicate a clear intent, nor will existing policies whose language significantly differs from what is suggested above.
The Student Press Law Center will publish the names of public schools in the Seventh Circuit that have recognized their student media as designated public forums as well as those that have not. The SPLC will periodically send the list of schools that have refused to issue such a statement (or who have ignored a request to do so) to state and national high school media organizations and will actively discourage high school students from attending a college or university that will not commit to supporting press freedom.
If you are on a public college or university campus in Indiana or Wisconsin (or anywhere else) and would like your school added to the list of those that do recognize press freedom, please send us the following information:
1) A copy of a signed statement from a school administrator that one or more named student news organizations on your campus are operating as designated public forums where student editors have authority to determine the content without advance approval.
2) If not clear from the above, the name and title of the official who signed the statement and the date it was approved.
3) Your name, title, telephone number and e-mail address.Send the information to the SPLC via e-mail or by regular mail to:
Adam Goldstein, Attorney Advocate
Student Press Law Center
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22209-2275
Questions? Call 703/807-1904 and ask for Adam Goldstein.
Public colleges and universities in the Seventh Circuit that have designated their student media as designated public forums (as of July 1, 2011):
NOTE: As of June 2008, all student media at public colleges in Illinois are designated public forums by state law.
Illinois State University
……The Daily Vidette (signed 9/15/2005 by university president)
Ball State University
……The Ball State Daily News and “all student-edited campus media.” (signed 4/4/2006 by university president)
Indiana University – Bloomington
……Indiana Daily Student and Arbutus (signed 7/1/1969, reaffirmed 10/20/2005 by senior VP/chancellor)
University of Southern Indiana
……The Shield and Access USI (signed 10/4/2005 by university president)
University of Wisconsin Platteville
……The Exponent (signed 11/2/2005 by chancellor)
Schools for which we have no record:
Indiana State University
Indiana University – East
Indiana University – Kokomo
Indiana University – Northwest
Indiana University – Purdue University – Fort Wayne
Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis
Indiana University – South Bend
Indiana University – Southeast
Purdue University – Calumet
Purdue University North Central
Blackhawk Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College
Gateway Technical College
Madison Area Technical College
Mid-State Technical College
Milwaukee Area Tech. College
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
University of Wisconsin Center
University of Wisconsin Center Marathon
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin Engineering
University of Wisconsin Fox Valley
University of Wisconsin Green Bay
University of Wisconsin La Crosse
University of Wisconsin Madison
University of Wisconsin Marshfield
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
University of Wisconsin Parkside
University of Wisconsin Sheboygan
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin Stout
University of Wisconsin Superior
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
University of Wisconsin River Falls
Western Wisconsin Tech College