Felicia is a student journalist at a public university. She is writing an article about crime on her campus and is interested in researching an armed robbery that occurred at her school last fall.
Ricky Thomas and James Wickett were denied funding for The Beacon OU, their newspaper that provides ''news from or with a Christian perspective,'' because a school policy prohibited the use of student fees for ''religious services.'' The students claim the policy was enforced when the student government, which allocates student fees, considered their request for funding.
If you are a student journalist at a private college or university and want access to campus police records beyond basic log information, you must first determine if the campus police have law enforcement authority. If so, the campus police might be subject to your state’s open-records law. Each state’s open-records law is different, so you must research the relationship between your campus police and state law.
In the past five years, more than 120 college student newspaper thefts have been reported to the Student Press Law Center.
A Monongalia County jury in February ordered West Virginia University to pay $868,000 in damages for retaliating against three campus police officers who tried to report the school for allegedly falsifying campus crime statistics.
When free student newspapers are stolen on university campuses, campus and city police often do not believe it is a crime because they say there is no law under which to prosecute the theft. This spring, six student newspapers experienced that questionable line of thinking first hand.
This fall, the Student Press Law Center will celebrate its 30th anniversary. For those not familiar with the SPLC's origins, the story of how an organization devoted to defending the student media and educating young journalists about their free-press and freedom-of-information rights came into existence and continues to serve after three decades is an interesting one.
The beginning of the SPLC is most directly attributed to a group formed in 1973 to examine the state of youth media.
The editor of a student newspaper at Mesa State College sued the college’s Board of Trustees in March, claiming the board failed to hold open meetings — as required by state law — during its controversial search for a new college president.
While journalists at six student newspapers expressed frustration over unresolved and unsolved cases of newspaper theft, at least one newspaper theft incident ended in punishment this spring for the student found responsible for the theft.
Student journalists across the country complained of administrative censorship this spring, from students being punished for protesting prior review of their student newspaper to school officials confiscating a publication that published editorials critical of the school.