The secret police?

A gray area exists as to whether open records law should be applied to private university law enforcement. A private university may have its own police department with the same arrest powers as any public police department, but in many states it’s at the discretion of the department to release crime records when requests are made. A private university police department may respond to an open records request with the response that as a private institution, it is not governed by state open-records law.

Public campus, private spaces

The increased use of private contractors on college campuses is regularly provoking disagreement over the ability of privatized bookstores, coffee shops and copy centers to declare otherwise-public property off-limits for newsgathering. The issue has become a point of frustration for student journalists who are welcomed as customers in their student role but may be excluded once their cameras come out.

Trashed

Mass theft of newspapers is a consistently reoccurring problem college journalists around the country face. The motive behind each instance is different, but every year thousands of student newspapers are removed from the stands, keeping them out of public hands.

Advisers under pressure

Besides being historical records for their schools, student newspapers and yearbooks serve as educational tools about the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and press. However, according to some journalism educators, many people within the educational system itself don’t always seem to understand or uphold these rights.

Not just for newspapers

Valedictorians earn the ability to give graduation speeches through their continuous hard work. They get the opportunity to close the high school chapter for their classmates and themselves. And while graduation speeches rarely cause riots or uproars, that hasn’t stopped some administrators from censoring, or even rewriting, the speeches.