Countering COVID-related FERPA objections

Many times administrators cite FERPA as a reason to restrict access to information which the public is entitled to receive. During the pandemic, we see FERPA being used inappropriately to deny important information to student media. SPLC has developed the letter below for you to download and send (or give) to administrators when they misapply FERPA… Continue reading Countering COVID-related FERPA objections

Can school boards require registration to online meetings?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our community is practicing social distancing, so school board meetings are now held via videoconference. Our administration requires anyone who wants to attend a meeting to complete a registration form, which… Continue reading Can school boards require registration to online meetings?

Syracuse paper struggles to cover racist, anti-Semitic incidents and student protests when students, admin won’t talk

#NotAgainSU protesters blocked a road near the building they’re occupying in an attempt to get the chancellor to speak with them. (Photo by Daily Orange Photo Editor Corey Henry)

NEW YORK — Over 30 racist and anti-Semitic incidents have occurred at Syracuse University since Nov. 7, 2019. The Daily Orange, SU’s student paper, has spent months covering the incidents, but has struggled to get the information they need because administration and protesters are hesitant to speak with or provide information to reporters. SU Chancellor Kent… Continue reading Syracuse paper struggles to cover racist, anti-Semitic incidents and student protests when students, admin won’t talk

New York college journalists say PR stands between them and employee interviews

The Chronicle staff, professors, and local journalists sat on a panel Friday ahead of Student Press Freedom Day. Pictured from left to right: Mary Alice Molgard, Emily Paolicelli, Aileen Burke, Angela Ledford, Jackson Wang, and Casey Seiler. (Photo courtesy of Chronicle News Editor Sarah Clark)

NEW YORK — Student reporters of The Saint Rose Chronicle used to freely interview employees of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, but since 2017, that access has been slowly taken away from them, they said. Aileen Burke, former executive editor at The Chronicle said that starting in 2017, employees who were usually happy… Continue reading New York college journalists say PR stands between them and employee interviews

Can school officials search my personal social media accounts?

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?

How student journalists fought FERPA, and how you can too

Chandler Boese / The Daily Kansan

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

Chapman president apologizes for PR team misleading student newspaper on prior review

(Panther Newsroom / Louisa Marshall)

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

Student journalists sue Western Washington University for withholding public records about sexual misconduct by students

Courtesy of The Western Front

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

Ask SPLC: What information does the Clery Act give me access to?

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?

‘Go take pictures of birds’: Firefighter tells student reporters to beat it, refuses to give identification

Emergency vehicles outside the health center at El Camino College outside Los Angeles. Student journalists were told to "go take pictures of birds" and were threatened with arrest while trying to report on the scene. Credit: Rosemary Montalvo / The Union

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