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.
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.
Though the Supreme Court has never done so, a growing number of lower courts are applying the restrictive high school censorship standard to higher education
In recent months, the SPLC has helped turn the tide with timely intervention on several occasions when policymakers failed to consider the impact of their decisions on the way students gather and report news.
Right up there with insurance companies, drug manufacturers and utilities, colleges and universities are big players on Capitol Hill and in state capitols across the country. Colleges spend many millions hiring lobbyists to secure grants, to obtain relief from regulations, and to otherwise influence public policy. Federal law, as well as the law in many states, requires those who hire lobbyists to disclose who they hired, what they paid, and what legislation they tried to impact.
Tracking legislation in all 50 states
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.
Experts give advice on dealing with access to the athletic department
While press regulations exist at all levels of sports, from professional to college to high school, court battles over media ownership rights and press freedoms continue to arise, particularly at the high school level.
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.