Illinois College Campus Press Act

The Illinois Campus College Press Act, 110 ILCS 13/1, protects campus media from censorship. It was passed as a direct response to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s 2005 decision in Hosty v. Carter. The Illinois New Voices law was enacted in 2016 to provide similar legal protections to high school student media.

Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the College Campus Press Act.

Sec. 5. Definitions. For purposes of this Act:
“Campus media” means any matter that is prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by students at State-sponsored institutions of higher learning, that is distributed or generally made available, either free of charge or for a fee, to members of the student body, and that is prepared under the direction of a student media adviser. “Campus media” does not include media that is intended for distribution or transmission solely in the classrooms in which it is produced.
“Campus policy” means the views and positions of State-sponsored institutions of higher learning promulgated by administrators, officials, or other agents of these institutions.
“Collegiate media adviser” means a person who is employed, appointed, or designated by the State-sponsored institution of higher learning to supervise or provide instruction relating to campus media.
“Collegiate student editor” means a student at a State-sponsored institution of higher learning who edits information prepared by collegiate student journalists for dissemination in campus media.
“Collegiate student journalist” means a student at a State-sponsored institution of higher learning who gathers, compiles, writes, photographs, records, or prepares information for dissemination in campus media.
“Prevailing party” includes any party who obtains some of his or her requested relief through judicial judgment in his or her favor, who obtains some of his or her requested relief through a settlement agreement approved by the court, or whose pursuit of a non-frivolous claim was a catalyst for a unilateral change in position by the opposing party relative to the relief sought.
“State-sponsored institution of higher learning” means the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, and public community colleges subject to the Public Community College Act.

Sec. 10. Public forum. All campus media produced primarily by students at a State-sponsored institution of higher learning is a public forum for expression by the student journalists and editors at the particular institution. Campus media, whether campus-sponsored or noncampus-sponsored, is not subject to prior review by public officials of a State-sponsored institution of higher learning.

Sec. 15. Grammar and journalism standards. Collegiate student editors of campus media are responsible for determining the news, opinions, feature content, and advertising content of campus media. This Section does not prevent a collegiate media adviser from teaching professional standards of grammar and journalism to collegiate student journalists. A collegiate media adviser must not be terminated, transferred, removed, otherwise disciplined, or retaliated against for refusing to suppress protected free expression rights of collegiate student journalists and of collegiate student editors.

Sec. 20. Injunction and declaratory relief. A collegiate student enrolled in a State-sponsored institution of higher learning or a collegiate media advisor of a State-sponsored institution of higher learning may commence a civil action to obtain appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief as determined by a court for violation of Section 10 of this Act by such State-sponsored institution of higher learning. Upon motion, a court may award attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in a civil action brought under this Section.

Sec. 30. Discipline; unprotected speech. Nothing in this Act prohibits the imposition of discipline for harassment, threats, or intimidation, unless constitutionally protected, or for speech that is not constitutionally protected, including obscenity or incitement.

Sec. 97. Severability. The provisions of this Act are severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.