No criminal charges filed after VCU student government members trashed 875 copies of The Commonwealth Times

An empty newsstand of The Commonwealth Times
SGA members allegedly cleared out kiosks and trashed newspapers last Wednesday VCU’s main campus. (The Commonwealth Times / Hannah Eason)

UPDATE: No criminal charges are being filed after 13 newsstands were emptied at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  On Feb. 26, 2020, members of VCU's Student Government Association were seen trashing copies of The Commonwealth Times that included an article detailing ongoing conflicts within SGA. According to a statement by the VCU Police Department, detectives… Continue reading No criminal charges filed after VCU student government members trashed 875 copies of The Commonwealth Times

High school paper censored for “offensive” headline on story about district’s lack of diversity

This is the former cover of the Feb. 13 issue of The Bruin. The students had to reprint the paper and take out the words “in a white school district.” Photo courtesy of Halle Shaeffer

OHIO — Wadsworth High School's student paper, The Bruin, sparked district-wide controversy and conversations about racism with their Feb. 13 story "Black History Month in a White School District." Some praised the coverage for bringing attention to the lack of diversity in the district, while others said the headline discounted the experiences of the already… Continue reading High school paper censored for “offensive” headline on story about district’s lack of diversity

What to do when your student news outlet’s budget gets cut

Piggy bank tipped over with coins spilling out
Pixabay / kschneider2991

If your student publication is funded fully or in part by student fees, you should have a plan in place in case of a budget cut. If the cuts come after critical coverage of the university or your student government, you may be able to claim the university or student government violated your First Amendment… Continue reading What to do when your student news outlet’s budget gets cut

College journalists in New Jersey describe years of “intimidation, harassment, threats” by administrators

Youngtown Edition’s staffers posing with signs of support at Board of Trustees meeting / Luna Wroblewski

NEW JERSEY — Student journalists at the County College of Morris recently went before the school’s Board of Trustees with more than two years of documented incidents with school administrators — saying administrators intimidated the student newspaper staff from doing their jobs and eventually ousted their adviser. The Youngtown Edition’s Editor-in-Chief Alexa Wyszkowski, Managing Editor… Continue reading College journalists in New Jersey describe years of “intimidation, harassment, threats” by administrators

Newspaper theft in 2019: 8,500+ issues stolen, trashed in 13 incidents

A copy of the Rocky Mountain Collegian in a recycling bin at Colorado State University. Photo courtesy of Haley Candelario.

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced a newspaper theft this year, or if one ever occurs in the future, email Danielle Dieterich at ddieterich@splc.org to report it. At least 8,500 copies of student newspapers at colleges in the United States were reported stolen, trashed or destroyed in 2019. In November alone, thefts were reported at County… Continue reading Newspaper theft in 2019: 8,500+ issues stolen, trashed in 13 incidents

NEWS RELEASE: Courage in Student Journalism Award” goes to Burlington, Vermont high school editors who successfully fought censorship

BHS Register editors speak to the Burlington school board on Thursday. Left to right: Jenna Peterson, Julia Shannon-Grillo, and Halle Newman. VTDigger / Lola Duffort

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 23, 2019 Contact: Diana Mitsu Klos, director of engagement (202) 728-7267/ dmk@splc.org WASHINGTON, D.C. - Students from Burlington, Vermont who broke a story about alleged inappropriate behavior by a faculty member and triumphed over both censorship and prior review are being honored with the “Courage in Student Journalism Award.”  “We fought… Continue reading NEWS RELEASE: Courage in Student Journalism Award” goes to Burlington, Vermont high school editors who successfully fought censorship

Mary Beth Tinker to high school journalists: It’s your job to speak up on behalf of others

Mary Beth Tinker speaks about free expression in front of her famous black armband, on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. / Joe Severino

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mary Beth Tinker, First Amendment advocate and former plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case that still affects students' speech rights 50 years later, told her story to hundreds of high school journalism students visiting the nation's capital on Nov. 22 — encouraging them to be caring, and use their free speech… Continue reading Mary Beth Tinker to high school journalists: It’s your job to speak up on behalf of others

New, restrictive publications policy hits journalists at a Virginia high school who were already being censored

Robert Owen Wahl / Pixabay

VIRGINIA — Journalism students already dealing with censorship by administrators at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Virginia, now face another barrier to reporting after the passage of a new prior review policy for student publications.  The Frederick County School Board approved the new policy during its Aug. 20 meeting. Under the policy, the school’s principal… Continue reading New, restrictive publications policy hits journalists at a Virginia high school who were already being censored

What is a “public forum for student expression?”

Q: What is a “public forum for student expression?” A: A student publication is a public forum for student expression when school officials have given student editors the authority to make their own content decisions. This can be accomplished through an official policy or by simply allowing a publication to operate without interference from school officials.… Continue reading What is a “public forum for student expression?”

Can I be punished for fighting censorship at my school?

Q: Can I be punished for fighting censorship at my school? A:  You cannot be punished for speaking out and expressing views opposing those of school officials unless you break laws or school rules in how you choose to fight the censorship. For example, if you organized or participated in a protest that included walking out of… Continue reading Can I be punished for fighting censorship at my school?