University settles lawsuit with satirical campus publication, affirming 1A protections for students

Cover of the most recent print issue of The Koala, published in 2016

UPDATE — The University of California San Diego settled a First Amendment lawsuit with a student-run satirical publication on Sept. 8, 2020, which legal experts say secured significant protections for student journalists against financial censorship. The lawsuit stemmed from a controversial November 2015 article from The Koala, a satirical newspaper on campus. The student government… Continue reading University settles lawsuit with satirical campus publication, affirming 1A protections for students

Federal appeals court ruling affirms students’ off-campus First Amendment rights

A cheerleader posted a Snapchat with the caption “f*** cheer.” A Pennsylvania federal appeals court said the school violated her First Amendment rights when they kicked her off the team. (Flickr / Patrick Feller CC by 2.0)

PENNSYLVANIA — A high school student was kicked off the cheerleading team for cursing the team on Snapchat. She filed a lawsuit. A federal appeals court's ruling is a major step toward securing First Amendment rights for students in person and online when they’re off campus. In B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District, the Third Circuit… Continue reading Federal appeals court ruling affirms students’ off-campus First Amendment rights

Florida college SGA cuts paper’s budget following election violation story

The PantherNOW staff in a Zoom meeting. Photo from Gerard Albert

Florida International University's student government cut the budget of the student paper, PantherNOW, for the fourth year in a row on March 24. This came just two weeks after the paper reported the Elections Board violated an election code that said SGA must publish the ballot a week before the election, leaving students unaware of… Continue reading Florida college SGA cuts paper’s budget following election violation story

What to do when your student news outlet’s budget gets cut

Piggy bank tipped over with coins spilling out
Pixabay / kschneider2991

If your student publication is funded fully or in part by student fees, you should have a plan in place in case of a budget cut. If the cuts come after critical coverage of the university or your student government, you may be able to claim the university or student government violated your First Amendment… Continue reading What to do when your student news outlet’s budget gets cut

Mary Beth Tinker to high school journalists: It’s your job to speak up on behalf of others

Mary Beth Tinker speaks about free expression in front of her famous black armband, on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. / Joe Severino

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mary Beth Tinker, First Amendment advocate and former plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case that still affects students' speech rights 50 years later, told her story to hundreds of high school journalism students visiting the nation's capital on Nov. 22 — encouraging them to be caring, and use their free speech… Continue reading Mary Beth Tinker to high school journalists: It’s your job to speak up on behalf of others

What is a “public forum for student expression?”

Q: What is a “public forum for student expression?” A: A student publication is a public forum for student expression when school officials have given student editors the authority to make their own content decisions. This can be accomplished through an official policy or by simply allowing a publication to operate without interference from school officials.… Continue reading What is a “public forum for student expression?”

Student journalist wins First Amendment award for uncovering mishandled sexual misconduct cases

Photo by Diana Mitsu Klos 2019 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award honoree Grace Marion chats with Student Press Law Center Senior Legal Counsel Mike Hiestand and student free speech icon Mary Beth Tinker. Hiestand and Tinker were Hefner award recipients in 2014.

WASHINGTON — A student journalist was honored with a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment award Wednesday for a series of articles shedding light on how her high school has mishandled sexual misconduct cases, and for a long-running fight against censorship. Grace Marion is the former editor-in-chief of The Playwickian at Neshaminy High School on Langhorne,… Continue reading Student journalist wins First Amendment award for uncovering mishandled sexual misconduct cases

NEWS RELEASE: Student Press Law Center Statement on Government Involvement in Promoting “Free Inquiry”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2019 Contact: Diana Mitsu Klos, SPLC director of engagement, (202) 728-7267 dmk@splc.org We are concerned by the attempt by government to insert itself into “free inquiry” and the debates around free speech on campus at both the federal and state level. Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been… Continue reading NEWS RELEASE: Student Press Law Center Statement on Government Involvement in Promoting “Free Inquiry”

Supreme Court asked to hear case about criminalizing “disruptive” speech to school employees, SPLC signs onto brief siding with students

Editor's Note: The Student Press Law Center signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. This story was originally published by the Brechner Center. Feb. 19, 2019 update: Supreme Court Declines Challenge to Kentucky Law on School Disruption. Coverage from Education Week. Read or download… Continue reading Supreme Court asked to hear case about criminalizing “disruptive” speech to school employees, SPLC signs onto brief siding with students

SPLC signs onto brief appealing discipline for “disrespectful” political speech by medical student on Facebook

Editor's Note: The Student Press Law Center signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. This story was originally published by the Brechner Center. Read or download the full brief. In the latest legal skirmish over the ability of public universities to regulate what… Continue reading SPLC signs onto brief appealing discipline for “disrespectful” political speech by medical student on Facebook