Editor fights punishment for content decision

GEORGIA -- A student newspaper editor at the Georgia State University has vowed to fight sanctions imposed on him by the administration for choosing not to run certain letters to the editor.

\n

\n Brad Pilcher, former opinion section editor, and Stephen Ericson, former editor in chief of The Signal, Georgia State's student newspaper, were each given disciplinary probation for violating the ''orderly climate'' and ''freedom of expression'' sections of the code of conduct.

\n

\n Under the terms of their probation, they are prohibited from holding an office or taking an active role in any campus organization for six months.

\n

\n The punishments came after several Muslim students and Georgia State's Muslim Student Association filed a complaint with the dean of students' office, claiming that the editors discriminated against Muslim, Arab and pro-Palestinian points of view by refusing to print three letters to the editor supporting the Palestinian perspective in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

\n

\n Pilcher said The Signal did not publish the letters because of space constraints and because they did not meet the paper's stated length and style requirements.

\n

\n The original complaint also alleged that Ericson, one of the paper's reporters and The Signal itself were responsible for what was described as biased coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the newspaper.

KC Star fights curators for access to audits

MISSOURI -- A state circuit judge denied a newspaper's request in May for immediate disclosure of the University of Missouri System's internal audits.

The Kansas City Star filed a lawsuit against the system's board of curators in 1998 after the board rejected requests for the records, which include all financial, operational, compliance and investigative audits.

Officials remove student from newspaper post

GEORGIA -- Kennesaw State University administrators forced the editor of the student newspaper to resign in April after she refused to name a confidential source who she claims helped her investigate a story.

Becca Garber, editor of The Sentinel, said school officials' decision to remove her from her position and bar her from holding any leadership position on campus during the fall 2001 semester was unfair.

The punishment came after Garber approached the assistant faculty adviser to the African-American Student Alliance and informed her that an investigation found that the organization's newly named president and vice president did not meet the group's minimum GPA requirement for leadership positions.

The group's faculty adviser, fearing the release of the information to Garber was a violation of the two students' privacy rights, brought the matter to university administrators, who called Garber in for questioning.

Administrators said they decided to punish Garber after meeting with her and determining that she violated a section of the code of conduct designed to protect students' privacy.

Schools extend reach to punish students for off-campus speech made on Internet

Continuing a trend of attempting to punish students for speech on the Internet, two New York high school students were arrested in May for harassment in connection with their off-campus Web site.

Prosecutors later decided not to prosecute the students, but police are refusing to return a disk containing the last remaining copy of the site to the students' attorney.

Police declined to release the names of the two 18-year-old males, citing their ages.

Principal upset by article tries to prevent reporter from participating in graduation

VIRGINIA -- Principal Pamela Latt did not want to talk to Nicole\nShort. After all, the Centreville High School senior had already\npublished several other articles that did not reflect well on\nthe school or Latt.

This time, Short was investigating why the suburban Washington,\nD.C., school had the highest teacher turnover rates in the county,\nrates that many attributed to Latt's administration.

Newspaper breezes past funding scare

VIRGINIA -- The administration at James Madison University decided June 8 not to cut funding to the student newspaper, despite the urging of one member of the school's board of visitors.

At a March 23 board of visitors meeting, board member Charles Cunningham asked the administration to prepare a report detailing the funding and operation of The Breeze, James Madison's student newspaper.