Copies of the La Roche Courier were distributed on April 14 and confiscated by college president Monsignor William Kerr three days later -- the same day prospective students and their parents toured the college during an open house.Kerr apparently confiscated the newspapers because of an editorial in the newspaper that advocated teaching students about safe sex, said Nicole Johnson, a student editor of the newspaper.
The student, referred to in court documents at “George T.,” served 100 days in juvenile hall during his sophomore year after showing a classmate a poem that read in part: “For I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill students at school. So parents watch your children cuz I’m back.”
Although other jurisdictions have successfully prosecuted those involved in the theft of free newspapers, a student newspaper in California is trying to make a university police department acknowledge that newspaper theft is a crime.
On April 28, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced the “Parents’ Empowerment Act of 2004,” which allows parents to sue anyone involved in the distribution of pornographic material that is obscene or otherwise “harmful to minors” to which minors could be exposed.
Every year, many newspaper thieves go unpunished because local and campus authorities cannot locate a suspect, or because they choose not to investigate the incident.
The Washington University Police Department told Student Life that because it is an agency of the private university, it is not required to follow the Missouri Sunshine Law.In a letter to editor in chief Jonathan Greenberger, a university official stated, “Washington University ...is not a ‘public governmental body.’ Therefore, the University is not subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law and other laws expressly applicable to public bodies, and the reports you seek are not open to public inspection,” Student Life reported.
Experts say auditors must be sure that the requested records are public records.
In a 5-2 decision, the Montana Supreme Court found that the officials’ closed-door discussions of university policy and other matters violated requirements for public meetings in the state constitution.
In a 4-2 decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court on July 15 ordered the public university's board of regents to reveal information about candidates interviewed during the 2002 search. The Supreme Court upheld rulings in two lower courts.