The board of trustees at public colleges and universities has the crucial job of passing the school’s budget, hiring the president and approving policies that affect students. When its tasks turn sensitive, some boards have tried to keep their discussions private in hope of avoiding public scrutiny.
Texas A&M University decided in July to eliminate its journalism department because administrators said they could not afford to hire the extra professors needed to sustain the program.
Photographs, videos and audio recordings taken during autopsies will remain out of the public eye as a result of the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to not test the constitutionality of a two-year-old law that sealed those records.
A student publisher sued the State University of New York at Albany and its student government in April for what he says was a violation of his First Amendment rights when his conservative paper was denied funding.
The country’s colleges and universities would have to provide students, parents and employees with campus fire safety information under legislation being considered in Congress.
Two courts have forced the university to reinstate the medical student after he was expelled for allegedly revealing confidential information about an autopsy in his student newspaper column. Rao sued Texas Tech last year, claiming that his free-speech rights were violated.
In June, Gov. Rick Perry signed a state homeland security law that seals records pertaining to state-funded security systems. The specifications, operating procedures and locations of cameras are now confidential in an effort to protect both private and public property from an act of terrorism.
College administrators argue that “free-speech zones” are necessary in order to protect students from being disrupted on their way to class by demonstrators.
The Harvard Crimson claimed that because Harvard police officers have official law enforcement authority including the power to arrest people off campus, they should be bound by the Massachusetts Public Records Law.
When two student newspapers this spring covered the hiring and firing practices of their colleges, administrators ordered a review of the papers' content because they said they were concerned about accuracy in reporting.