University settles lawsuit with satirical campus publication, affirming 1A protections for students

Cover of the most recent print issue of The Koala, published in 2016

UPDATE — The University of California San Diego settled a First Amendment lawsuit with a student-run satirical publication on Sept. 8, 2020, which legal experts say secured significant protections for student journalists against financial censorship. The lawsuit stemmed from a controversial November 2015 article from The Koala, a satirical newspaper on campus. The student government… Continue reading University settles lawsuit with satirical campus publication, affirming 1A protections for students

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

Former Harvard employee files rare lawsuit against student newspaper

(Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts / Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

MASSACHUSETTS — A former Harvard University employee named the school’s student newspaper in a federal lawsuit filed July 20, accusing The Harvard Crimson of defamation and libel over coverage of his nude play about circumcision.  Eric Clopper, who worked as a systems administrator at the university, filed suit against Harvard, The Crimson, a Harvard governing… Continue reading Former Harvard employee files rare lawsuit against student newspaper

How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Law enforcement may not be familiar with the student press. They may see you only as students, and not know or understand the essential role of student journalists in covering public events such as protests. This letter may be helpful in providing law enforcement with evidence of your claims. Carry a physical copy (do not… Continue reading How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Student coverage of racial justice protests

Protestors in Wilmington (NC) gather on the steps of City Hall downtown. (Panda Omo)

Student journalists are on the frontlines of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25. Through their coverage, students are keeping their communities informed on protests, curfews and local government response, despite attacks from police and risk of exposure to COVID-19. In order to recognize and express our appreciation for… Continue reading Student coverage of racial justice protests

The Student Press Law Center condemns the attack on Ohio State University student journalists who were covering protests

The Student Press Law Center, joined by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the College Media Association, condemns the attack on student journalists from Ohio State University who were covering a protest in Columbus on June 1. Journalists from The Lantern were lawfully covering a protest taking place adjacent to the campus. Confronted… Continue reading The Student Press Law Center condemns the attack on Ohio State University student journalists who were covering protests

Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

creativesignature / Pixabay

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, student journalists are facing issues obtaining public records and accessing what should be open meetings. SPLC staff attorney Sommer Ingram Dean said a majority of the calls to SPLC's legal hotline in March and April have been about COVID-19 related access issues. She said student journalists have called about:  Experiencing… Continue reading Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

“We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic

Photo courtesy of Samantha Berry, yearbook adviser at Bridgeland High School in Cypress, Texas. Because the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry's students had to work late nights on laptops from cars parked in the school's lot to get the server access they needed to finish the yearbook.

At the beginning of March, yearbook staffs around the country were putting the final touches on spreads they'd been working on for months, getting ready to send final copies to printing plants to be printed and distributed like normal. Now, just weeks later, the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown yearbook students and advisers into chaos.  RELATED:… Continue reading “We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic