Editors file lawsuit against state university for actions designed to paralyze publication

ILLINOIS -- Several months of controversy surrounding Governors State University's student newspaper will likely drag on following a decision by student editors to sue the university for violating their First Amendment rights.

Although school officials said the editors can publish at any time and have simply chosen not to, the students say their ability to produce a newspaper has been effectively crippled.

The editor and managing editor of The Innovator filed suit against the GSU Board of Trustees and three administrators Jan.

DOE investigates colleges’ crime reporting

The U.S. Department of Education conducted inquiries into campus crime reporting practices at both The College of New Jersey and Bowling Green State University this year.

The College of New Jersey was selected for review because of a professor's complaint that the college had not reported three sexual assaults on campus during the 1996-97 academic year.

Principal punishes honor students for ‘hurtful’ paper

PENNSYLVANIA -- Several students were suspended in March for distributing an underground newspaper that administrators said contained "hurtful" comments about other students at the school.

Council Rock High School principal David Yates suspended the honor students after they created and distributed copies of The Laundromat Liberator, which attacked three students in particular with "hurtful, embarrassing and slanderous" comments, Yates told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yates would not specify how many students were suspended or for how long.

Secret Service agents, school officials veto students’ coverage of first family

President Bush has only been in office for a few months, but student journalists at two universities have already encountered problems stemming from their coverage of the first family.

In February, three Secret Service agents detained and questioned Glenn Given, managing editor of the Stony Brook Press, a satirical campus newspaper at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, about a column he wrote in which he asked God to "smite" President Bush.

According to Given, the agents said they feared the article might be interpreted by some as a divine call to harm the president.

Lawmakers introduce campus crime bills

Both state and federal legislators have introduced bills in the last few months to increase the availability of information about certain crimes and criminals on college campuses.

Legislatures in both California and Tennessee are considering bills that would require convicted sex offenders enrolled at colleges or universities to register with campus officials.

The California bill (AB 4) would require all sex offenders to register with campus police within five working days of enrollment, whether they live on campus or not.

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."