MONTANA -- A July Hells Angels gathering in Missoula left behind more than the usual trail of exhaust and skid marks.
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.
Advertisements usually sit quietly along the edge of a newspaper's page, helping publishers to pay the bills and advertisers to sell a product. They are not supposed to alienate readers.
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.
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.
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.
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."
ALABAMA -- Student and professional journalists have joined together to sue the Auburn University Board of Trustees because of what they believe are violations of the state's open-meetings law.
Six professional newspapers, along with the Alabama Press Association and Auburn's student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, filed a lawsuit Feb.
For more than 25 years, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), or "Buckley Amendment," has protected the privacy of student education records. Recently, however, some school districts have given the Act a curious interpretation.