Student settles disciplinary lawsuit again Ohio University

OHIO -- Ohio University student Nathan Ray will return to campus this fall after settling a lawsuit in which he accused the school of violating his rights to due process during a campus disciplinary procedure.

The Department of Education is currently suing two other public universities in Ohio to prevent them from releasing campus disciplinary records to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some critics of campus courts say the secrecy in disciplinary proceedings can lead to charges that the system is unfair.

Ray was suspended in April after a campus court found him guilty of violating the student code of conduct.

Survey says: More Americans support student press freedom

VIRGINIA -- A slightly increasing minority of Americans support free-press rights for high school students, according to a recent survey.

In The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center's survey, "The State of the First Amendment 2000," released in early July, respondents were asked whether they believe high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues without the approval of school authorities.

Forty-three percent strongly or mildly agreed that students should have the right to cover hard-hitting stories.

Students seeking to silence criticism swipe papers at 3 college campuses

Prospective students visiting a university's campus for the first time are supposed to get their first glimpse of what life as a college student is really like.

Those who attended Drew University's 'Spring Saturday' admissions event on April 15 may have received a tour of the campus, but their opportunity to get a true feel for the student voices of the university was taken away -- along with 1,000 copies of the student newspaper.

Co-editor Susan Rella said her staff filed a criminal mischief complaint with local police after the campus public safety department failed to act on reports that witnesses saw students wearing admissions and tour guide T-shirts removing stacks of newspapers from The Acorn's main distribution sites in the school's dining hall and student center.

Rella estimates that half of the paper's 2,000 press run was stolen but that most of those papers were later found in an area of the student center that is inaccessible to students.

The issue that was stolen contained front-page articles on sexual assault and two arson arrests.

Former newspaper editor sues campus agency for access to bookstore records

NEW YORK -- What started out as a routine story idea led to a lawsuit filed by the former editor of the Hudson Valley College student newspaper.

Tony Gray claims officials from Hudson's Faculty-Student Association, which operates the school's bookstore, are violating the state's Freedom of Information Law by denying The Hudsonian access to invoices for textbooks the store sold to students.

The paper first sought the records in January for inclusion in a story examining bookstore prices and whether the store is overcharging students by inflating book prices.

School expels 8th grader for bomb drawing

MASSACHUSETTS -- An eighth-grade student was suspended and subsequently expelled in May for drawing a picture of his school surrounded by explosives.

Michael Demers, a special needs student at Northwest School in Worcester, was asked by a teacher to draw a picture of how he felt after being reprimanded for talking in class.

School districts fail access test

MISSOURI -- It started out as just another school project, but 15-year-old Lindsay Rhodes soon turned the tables by using her critical thinking class assignment to put local school districts to the test.

And what the Liberty Junior High School freshman learned was that district administrators may need to devote some extra study hall hours to working on their compliance with state open-records laws.

Rhodes wanted to test local school districts to measure their compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, which she researched for her project.

Adviser sues school for ending contract

MISSOURI -- A former college newspaper adviser filed a lawsuit in June against Central Missouri State University, alleging her termination was in response to stories covered in the school's newspaper.

Barbara Lach-Smith, who advised the Muleskinner staff for six years, said her contract was not renewed because of stories uncovering unusual stipulations in outgoing university President Ed Elliott's contract, including $620,000 in severance pay, special benefits for Elliott's wife and personal computer services.

James Rynard, Lach-Smith's attorney, said he can prove that the school violated Lach-Smith's civil rights and infringed on students' First Amendment rights.

"We're very confident in our claims," Rynard said.

Court upholds state ban on alcohol advertising in college newspapers

PENNSYLVANIA -- Across the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, free copies of The Pitt News, the school's independent student newspaper, rest in bins waiting to be picked up by the university community.

Just as easily accessible to students are copies of other free, commercial newspapers, which in some places sit right next to stacks of The Pitt News. Anyone walking past has the freedom to choose which paper he or she wants to read.

But businesses in the state do not have the same freedom to select in which paper they want their advertisements to appear, after a June ruling by the U.S.