Late last year, Gerian Steven Moore was terminated from his position as adviser to Chicago State University's student newspaper, following what he describes as administrative retaliation for his unwillingness to censor the paper's content.
On Dec. 1 of last year, the University of Washington's Daily doubled the usual size of its Monday edition, but none of the extra column inches included staff-member bylines. Instead, seven full pages were dedicated to reader letters in response to a column printed the prior week.
Constant staff turnover may be a fact of life at student publications, but it puts student journalists at a disadvantage when facing censorship and other conflicts.
To recognize "Sunshine Week," a national commemoration of the vital importance of transparency in government, the journalism interns at the Student Press Law Center conduct an annual "compliance audit" to test whether schools and colleges truly honor their duty to disclose public records.
Journalism professor, adviser loses tenure
WASHINGTON -- The sole journalism professor at Clark College inVancouver, Wash., was denied tenure in March by the school's Board ofTrustees, effectively firing her by June.
Christina Kopinski received a faculty committee recommendation for tenureby a vote of 3-0 with one abstention, but was then denied her job security byboard members who, she said, have yet to provide her with a reason fordenial.
Kopinski suspects board members are unhappy with the investigative approachshe teaches in her journalism classes and encourages at the student newspapershe advises.
Young journalists with help from legislators, propose anti-Hazelwood bills to restore free press rights.
For the handful of college newspapers able to attain it, financial independence from the university is often considered the highest guarantee of editorial freedom.
The principle behind sunshine laws is simple: Citizens of a democratic nation should be able to find out what decisions are being made by government agencies, including state universities. The reality of using these laws to obtain public documents is much more complex, especially with universities' understaffed offices, reams of paperwork and wariness about releasing anything that might hurt the institution's public image.
The lines between off-campus and on-campus student speech are becoming blurred, and some courts have ruled that actions that occur outside the schoolhouse gate can still be punished in the principal’s office.
The story of college athletics does not end with the final buzzer, and public records can help journalists give their readers the full report.