Group proposes new crime reporting regulations

\nWASHINGTON, D.C. - Counselors will not necessarily have to\nreport rape and other sexual assaults as part of annual campus\ncrime statistics, and police may leave out details in their logs\nto protect victim confidentiality.

After months of debate and compromise, those were the big conclusions\nagreed upon by representatives of various higher education constituency\ngroups working with the Department of Education.

They have met with DOE officials for several months, attempting\nto compromise on what should be considered mandatory in a university's\nannual crime statistics and daily police logs that federal law\nnow requires be made public.

Two main issues under debate were whether campus counselors\nshould report sexual assaults as crime statistics, and if campus\npolice will be allowed to leave out information in the police\nlogs in order to protect victim condfidentiality.

"Basically, schools cannot avoid reporting the crime althogether,\nbut most only leave out the minimum amount of information necessary\nto protect the victim's identity, such as a dorm room number,"\nthe Society of Professional Journalists' Carolyn Carlson said\nin an e-mail.

Counselors will be permitted to release statistics of students\nwho report rapes or sexual assault for inclusion in the campus'\nannual statistics, although they will not be required to do so.\nBut that is only if the school has a procedure for anonymous reports,\nwhich they are not required to have.

Superintendent labels art offensive

CALIFORNIA - Despite a 23-year-old law protecting student\nexpression, censorship in the golden state has not become a thing\nof the past.

At Maricopa High School, yearbooks featuring artwork created\nby the yearbook adviser, who is also an art teacher at the school,\nwere censored after the school board deemed one of the works offensive.

The work was a picture drawn by adviser Deborah Leavitt at\nthe beginning of the Persian Gulf War.

Student expression bills die

\nSupporters of the high school student press did not have much\nto cheer about this spring as state legislative sessions drew\nto a close.

Of the four bills designed to protect the student press that\nwere introduced, none became law.

Bills died this year in Connecticut, Missouri and Illinois,\nand legislation introduced in Nebraska is being held over until\nnext year.

In Connecticut, legislation intended "to prevent\nchallenges to or public criticism of student journalists who publish\npolitical or controversial material" died after supporters\nrejected a watered-down version of the bill.

Newseum honors high school journalists

\nVIRGINIA - The Newseum, an interactive news museum in Arlington,\npresented its second annual Courage in Student Journalism Awards\nin May to three students and two recent graduates from Florida\nhigh schools.

Brady Ward and Mario Weber, June 1998 graduates of Coral Gables\nSenior High School, and Isabel Eisner, Joey Ruiz and Katie Townsend,\nstudents at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, were recognized\nfor their efforts in convincing the school board in Dade County,\nFla., to retain its exemplary student press guidelines.

New Hampshire paper beats closed meeting

\nNEW HAMPSHIRE - A court could find The University of New\nHampshire's student senate in contempt the next time the organization\nchooses to hold an unlawful closed meeting.

But Sean McNamara, editor in chief of the student newspaper,\nThe New Hampshire, hopes that will not be a problem.

A state court approved an agreement between the university's\nsenate and the newspaper, stating that the senate must hold open\nmeetings.

"The senate seems happy about [the decision]," McNamara\nsaid, adding that it is willing to cooperate.

In mid-April, the senate denied the newspaper staff access\nto a meeting concerning university-imposed sanctions on the student\ngovernment.

The sanctions stemmed from a previous open senate meeting in\nJanuary, where two senate members were drinking rum-and-Cokes.

When New Hampshire staffers contested the closed session,\na superior court judge in Strafford County issued a temporary\ninjunction, saying that the senate could not meet in closed session\nuntil the court could schedule a full hearing.

That hearing, however, never took place.