Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Are school officials allowed to search for and look at my personal (non-school-affiliated) social media accounts without my permission? A: Yes. Once you post something online it’s pretty much fair game for anyone (school officials, current or… Continue reading Can school officials search my personal social media accounts?
If you’ve ever requested documents from your school through open records law and been denied or had substantial information redacted, there’s a good chance you’ve dealt with The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. This privacy law is a common barrier for student journalists looking to dig deeper into what’s happening at their… Continue reading How student journalists fought FERPA, and how you can too
CALIFORNIA — The president of Chapman University has apologized to its student newspaper for misleading statements made by the school’s public relations team about covering a fundraiser on campus attended by former President George W. Bush. The Panther, an independent weekly student newspaper at Chapman, a private college in Orange, California, had known Bush would… Continue reading Chapman president apologizes for PR team misleading student newspaper on prior review
WASHINGTON - Students journalists filed a lawsuit against Western Washington University for withholding the names of students found responsible for sexual misconduct. The plaintiffs believe the university, based in Bellingham, is violating Washington’s Public Record Act, which would compel the university to release these names. During a May 30 news conference, students Erasmus Baxter and… Continue reading Student journalists sue Western Washington University for withholding public records about sexual misconduct by students
Q: What information does the Clery Act give me access to? A: Any college or university that accepts federal funding is required to notify the campus community when certain crimes are reported. Every school must keep an annual statistical report, a daily crime log, and make "timely reports" to the community when certain crimes are reported that… Continue reading Ask SPLC: What information does the Clery Act give me access to?
CALIFORNIA — A Los Angeles county firefighter threatened student reporters with arrest and repeatedly rebuffed them while they were trying to gather information on emergency crews on campus, according to the journalists. Emergency crews, including police and an ambulance, appeared to be responding to a medical incident at the college’s student health center. A man… Continue reading ‘Go take pictures of birds’: Firefighter tells student reporters to beat it, refuses to give identification
Colorado State University's student government may have broken state transparency laws by trying to kick student reporters out of the student body president's impeachment hearing. The incident adds to an ongoing perceived lack of transparency from the university’s student government and administration.
2015 was a rollercoaster year for student media and First Amendment rights in schools. Review the year's highs and lows in the SPLC's recap post.