Violent Crimes, Secret Courts

Two years ago, Congress made it harder for colleges and universities to hide violent crime behind the ivy-covered walls of their campus courts by passing legislation specifically allowing schools to release the disciplinary records of students found responsible for violent crimes.

Censorship of student press widespread

Three-fourths of both high school principals and advisers at schools around the country say their student newspapers are censored, a recent survey revealed.

Of those principals and advisers who agreed that their newspapers were censored, 39 percent of the principals and 40 percent of the advisers indicated that the censorship was done by the adviser.

Administrators seize mysterious files

OREGON -- A student editor filed a lawsuit against three university officials March 16 for violating his First Amendment rights and confiscating a box of confidential university records that landed outside his office door.

Portland State University officials locked Dimitrius Desyllas, editor of an alternative campus publication, The Rearguard, out of the newspaper's office and detained him for more than two hours after they learned he had the box of confidential student disciplinary records, Desyllas said.

Switch to digital threatens to kill the buzz of the newsroom scanner

Although the digital age has often meant unprecedented improvements in access to information, new digital communications devices in use by police and emergency departments may mean just the opposite for news reporters.

Many cities are switching to the digital devices to ensure security, but with increased security comes restricted access for the media and the public because traditional radio scanners no longer work.

Student suspended for column wins 8-year fight

ILLINOIS -- An eight-year-long legal battle finally came to a close in November when the Chicago Board of Education agreed to pay $40,000 to a former student who was suspended for criticizing her school's "no shorts" policy in the student newspaper.

Cynthia Hanifin was a 17-year-old student at Hubbard High School in Chicago when she was suspended in 1993 for four days for the column.

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.