Portrait of controversy

Within limits, students in public schools have a First Amendment right to wear expressive clothing, jewelry and haircuts, and some have successfully sued their schools when forced to change their appearance. But there are no published court rulings addressing whether that right extends to a student’s choice of apparel for a yearbook portrait. And the issue is complicated by the fact that other students’ First Amendment rights – the editors’ – can override the individual students’ stylistic choices.

Your ad NOT here

Private universities across the country are cracking down on their student media advertising policies — a practice that would likely be considered unconstitutional at a public university. Targets are many, from alcohol to off-campus housing, but perhaps most damaging to newspaper revenues is the bar on ads for degree programs at competing schools.

Tweeting your favorite things

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you received anything of value in exchange for writing a review, you have to tell your readers about it. And while lots of journalists may understand that, they may not understand that the FTC thinks your personal tweets, Facebook status updates, and blog posts are “testimonials.” Let’s take a look at the FTC’s rules, what they mean, and how to follow them.

Using corporate records to check up on campus contractors

Colleges spend billions annually contracting with private vendors to supply everything from staplers to stadiums. At times, colleges have been caught steering their purchases to politically connected vendors, or those with ties to campus insiders, instead of going after the best quality and price. And at times, colleges have failed to do their homework on vendors that turned out to be unsavory. That’s where you – and public records – come in.