Missing a hero

The SPLC has no shortage of role models. Hundreds of student journalists who fight censorship and defend their readers' right to accurate news each year provide us an ongoing source of inspiration.

Rondray Hill was a special champion.

Independent paper sues campus daily

LOUISIANA -- The Tiger Weekly, an independent student newspaper at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, sued the campus newspaper in state court in July, claiming the school's financial support of The Reveille created unfair competition for readers.

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\n Tiger Weekly publisher Wayne Lewis said The Reveille is supposed to be used as a learning tool for the journalism program, but not as a tool to stop competition.

Instant message suit dismissed by courts

PENNSYLVANIA -- A student's claim that his AOL Instant Messenger transcript was obtained through a violation of the federal wiretap law has been dismissed in federal trial and appellate courts.

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\n The student was expelled in December 1999 from Friends Central School in Wynnewood for an online conversation in which he said, ''stupid people should be banished or killed.'' A print-out of the conversation was confiscated from another student on a class trip.

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\n The expelled student and his parents filed a lawsuit against school, arguing that the student's privacy had been infringed through an illegal wire-intercept.

Chicago Tribune loses case over school files

ILLINOIS ' A state appellate court overturned a trial court decision in June concerning the Chicago Tribune's request for student information.

The Tribune sued the Chicago School District after it refused to release information about unnamed students, including attendance records, test scores, race and transportation status, among several other categories.

Student calls seeking legal help rise in 2001

VIRGINIA -- Requests to the Student Press Law Center in 2001 from high school and college journalists needing free help on media law matters rose slightly from 2000.

Overall, in 2001 the SPLC staff responded to 2,107 requests from individuals seeking legal help, down about 1 percent from the 2,129 calls received in 2000.

Student challenges expulsion in court

MICHIGAN -- A high school student who was suspended and taken to a psychiatric hospital after posting offensive comments on the Internet is now suing to clear his record, obtain monetary damages and have the school district's disciplinary policy declared unconstitutional.

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\n Joshua Mahaffey was given a 143-day suspension from Waterford Kettering High School in September 2001 for ''assault, behavior dangerous to self and others, harassment and Internet violations.''

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\n Mahaffey's First Amendment rights were violated, his lawyer Richard Landau said, because Mahaffey did not use school computers to post his comments, nor did he violate the school's Internet policy.

Judge voids meeting vote to fire president

TEXAS -- A Wichita Falls judge ruled July 12 that the Midwestern State University Board of Regents violated the state open-meetings law when it failed to properly notify the public of pending action against former President Henry Moon.

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\n The judge granted the Times Record News' request for a temporary injunction against the regents, voiding their decision to fire Moon, who was embroiled in controversy and subsequently placed on administrative leave in August 2001.

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\n The paper filed the suit after the regents met in executive session on \nJune 11 to discuss Moon's status at the university, including the possibility of ending his administrative leave and pay status.

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\n University attorney Roger Lee said the board is likely to reconvene an open meeting to reconsider the matter.

Alumni groups back Syracuse newspaper

NEW YORK -- Alumni staffers of The Daily Orange at Syracuse University are putting pressure on the administration to let the newspaper remain independent.

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\n Stephen Cohen, founder and president of paper's alumni association, wrote a letter to Chancellor Kenneth Shaw asking that the administration maintain its commitment to having an independent paper.