Revisions to the Missouri Sunshine Law signed by Gov. Bob Holden on the University of Missouri at Columbia campus in June clarify, among other things, that the public university’s board of trustees is required to follow state open-records laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 29 that a law designed to protect minors from Internet pornography was probably overbroad and unconstitutional, but sent the case back to a lower court to rule on whether new technological advances would make enforcement of the law feasible. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that a 1998 statute, which carried up to a $50,000 fine per day and jail time for anyone who exposed minors to harmful material online, threatened the First Amendment right to free speech if enforced.
Under proposed changes to Section 12.9 of the Pennsylvania Code, administrators can censor content in a school-sponsored student publication if they have an educational reason for doing so. If they think the publication expresses a “serious” threat, it could be banned. And if they think language is vulgar or offensive, the student responsible could be punished.
A former student editor’s lawsuit alleging violations of state open-meetings law by her college’s board of trustees will go to trial, a state court ruled in July.
Graham said the posting meant that he was not going to be silenced about his opposition to the school district’s newly enacted student publications prior review policy and Superintendent Herb Levine’s treatment of students during meetings about the change. In December, Principal Ann Papagiotas ordered the newspaper’s publication date delayed until students changed editorials on low student moral and school policies forbidding hats and eating in classrooms. The school then established a prior review policy breaking with the state’s tradition of only allowing censorship of a student publication if it would lead to a substantial disruption at the school.
Two college newspaper advisers are considering legal action against school administrators because they believe they were removed from their positions for refusing to censor students.In Indiana, school administrators at Vincennes University removed the eight-year adviser of the Trailblazer, a student newspaper, after a yearlong struggle over content in the publication.Trailblazer adviser Michael Mullen was told during a performance evaluation in May that he was being transferred to the public university's English department, where he taught six years prior to serving as newspaper adviser.Although administrators at the public university told Mullen they were transferring him because they needed to fill a vacancy, he believes the newspaper's content was a main factor in their decision."I allowed the staff to publish articles that were embarrassing to the university and put a light on things they would prefer were kept in the dark," Mullen saidThe former adviser is in talks with a lawyer over a possible lawsuit against the university.Duane Chattin, director of public information for Vincennes University, said the university has a long history of allowing students to print what they want in the newspaper, and the decision to transfer Mullen was legitimate."Only after the fact does the adviser critique the students," Chattin said.
In July statement was in response to the actions of officials at Kansas State University in removing the student newspaper adviser based on the content decisions made by student editors. The SPLC has grave concerns about the legal arguments KSU officials are making about free press protections for students at the university. Those arguments are, quite simply, unprecedented, dangerous and offensive to the First Amendment.
A state court debunked a common excuse for administrative censorship, ruling that a public university cannot be held liable for an article in a student newspaper because it does not have editorial control over the publication.
Reading through Ron Johnson's last evaluation as adviser to the Kansas State Collegian there is no mention of him as a "bad adviser."
Instead, Johnson is praised by administrators for his service to student and professional media organizations.
In a ruling five years in the making, a federal appeals court ruled in July that a state law banning paid alcohol advertisements in student media was a violation of the First Amendment.The landmark ruling paves the way for other student media outside of Pennsylvania to fight similar laws or restrictions.