When the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its decision in Hosty v. Carter two years ago, it was heralded as the greatest blow against student press rights in almost two decades.
Every school night for more than 35 years, The Daily Texan had to make a detour on its way to the printer. Before a single drop of ink met newsprint, an adviser was required to comb through every word in the newspaper, searching for any legal gaffes editors might have let slip by.
Liz Zelinksi could not ignore the strikingly high number: In just a few months, editorial staffs at more than a dozen college newspapers woke up to find distribution boxes inexplicably empty, just hours after they were circulated.
Nearly 40 years have passed since Mary Beth Tinker first entered the vaunted halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, the plaintiff in the landmark student expression case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District has heard her name invoked countless times as the gold standard protecting students’ free expression rights.
When Patrick Esfeller, a junior at Louisiana State University, learned he was under investigation from school administrators, he says his feelings quickly moved from shock to outrage.