Official tries to strike paper’s funding

VIRGINIA -- James Madison may have been the author of the First Amendment, but an official at his namesake university does not like the idea of a free, campus-funded student press.

Charles Cunningham, a member of the university's board of visitors, has tried to sever school funding of James Madison University's student newspaper twice-once as a student and now as an administrator.

Cunningham asked the university administration at a March 23 board meeting to prepare a report detailing the funding and operation of The Breeze because of an insert the newspaper began publishing this year called Turf. Cunningham said he does not think Turf positively represents the university, according to Breeze editor Julie Sproesser.

Sproesser said Turf is a "comedic, satirical entertainment magazine ... it's supposed to be funny."

But after a friend sent Cunningham a copy of the Feb.

Daily Kansan wins access to accident report

KANSAS -- Twelve refusals by police did not stop the University of Kansas student newspaper staff from accessing an accident report.

Despite the Kansas Highway Patrol's claim that the report was exempt from the state open-records act, The University Daily Kansan decided to take its request to court where a judge ordered the cops to comply.

When The Kansan requested access to the report on a fatal September car accident involving two local residents, state police said they would not release the report because it was part of a criminal investigation.

But Shawnee County District Court Judge Terry Bullock ruled in March that the record should be considered public and turned over to the newspaper.

John Eichkorn, state public information officer for the Kansas Highway Patrol, said the patrol then turned over the records and will not appeal the decision.

According to Eichkorn, the patrol initially refused the newspaper's request to avoid jeopardizing the pending criminal investigation that later resulted in a 16-year-old pleading no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Nathan Willis, now opinion editor of The Kansan, filed suit against the patrol in November, claiming the patrol violated the Kansas Open Records Act by refusing to release the report.

In his decision, Bullock said he ruled in favor of the newspaper because Willis was simply requesting the report the patrol must forward to the Kansas Department of Transportation.

School disciplines girl for list of frustrations

NEVADA -- School administrators suspended a student in March after they found a list she created of people with whom she is "frustrated."

The Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School student was suspended for 10 days after school officials learned of the list, which included names of fellow classmates who frustrate her.

A sheriff's investigation into the incident concluded that the girl posed no immediate threat because she did not have access to any weapons and she did not make any direct threats.

The sheriff's department got involved after receiving an anonymous tip.

Richard Siegel, president of the American Civil Liberties of Nevada criticized Douglas County officials for "overstepping their bounds."

Student newspaper reveals textbook prices after judge orders store to release invoices

NEW YORK -- A judge ruled in November that the state freedom of information law requires a community college bookstore to release its invoices to the student newspaper, despite the bookstore's claim that the invoices were proprietary information.

The Hudson Valley Community College Faculty Student Association, a nonprofit group that runs the bookstore and other campus services, turned over the invoices in redacted form to editors at The Hudsonian student newspaper, who then published a story on the bookstore prices.

Judge George Ceresia Jr.

Alligator crawls into autopsy photo swamp

FLORIDA -- The University of Florida student newspaper stepped into the legal arena built around legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt's autopsy photos in March to challenge a settlement made between Earnhardt's widow and the Orlando Sentinel.

That settlement allowed the Sentinel to have an independent medical examiner evaluate photographs from Earnhardt's autopsy, after which the photos were to be sealed.

Judge orders alumni magazine to publish group’s advocacy ad

NEW JERSEY -- A public university's alumni magazine cannot refuse advocacy advertising because doing so violates the First Amendment rights of advertisers, according to a March court ruling.

Rutgers Alumni Council 1000 sued Rutgers University in 1999 after the alumni publication, Rutgers University Magazine, refused to publish the group's advertisement urging university officials to shift their focus from athletics to academics.

The magazine said the ad violated its policy against advocacy advertising, but Rutgers 1000 argued that the policy was not put in writing until after it filed a lawsuit, and a judge agreed.

Community college presidents are not public officials, according to ruling by Nevada court

NEVADA -- The state supreme court ruled in March that the president of a community college is not a public officer and that at least parts of a college's presidential search may be conducted privately.

The decision came after The Las Vegas Review-Journal sued in September to prevent the Community College of Southern Nevada Board of Regents from privately interviewing presidential candidates.

Supreme Court refuses to hear paper’s appeal

PENNSYLVANIA -- The U.S. Supreme Court declined in January to hear a college student newspaper's appeal of a state law banning alcohol ads in college publications.

Now the case is headed back to a federal district court for a full hearing.

The 1996 law prohibits businesses from advertising alcohol in publications produced "by, for, or in behalf of any education institution."

The U.S.