Mar 282004
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

By:

Shandra Jordan

Colleen Buhrer

J.J. Babb

Kyle Endres

Christopher J. Ortiz

 

We take for granted a lot the freedoms we enjoy in college.

There are no parents telling us when to be home or to not do a keg

stand. We don’t need permission to leave class and go to the

restroom. There are no principals telling us not to wear hats in

the hallways or what we can’t wear.

In collegiate media, we generally are free from university

administrative restraint. We don’t have CSU breathing down our

necks about what is on the pages of the Collegian (though our

adviser likes to put his two cents in).

In January, an 11-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for

the Seventh Circuit heard arguments for Hosty v. Carter, a case

about a college newspaper that could have implications for all

student expression.

According to the Student Press Law Center, www.splc.org,

“Governors State University was sued by student journalists

Margaret Hosty, Jeni Porche and Steven Barba in January 2001 after

Dean Patricia Carter told the newspaper’s printer in October 2000

to hold future issues until a school official had given approval to

the student newspaper’s contents. The paper, the Innovator, had

published news stories and editorials critical of the

administration. Carter’s directive was issued despite a university

policy that said the student newspaper staff ‘will determine

content and format of their respective publications without

censorship or advance approval.'”

The administration is arguing that the case of Hazelwood School

District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) should apply. In Hazelwood the Supreme

Court upheld the rights of high school administrators to censor a

high school newspaper of content it felt to be inappropriate to the

students. The immaturity of some students in high school was a key

point in the court’s decision, which specifically mentioned the

younger freshmen students.

This case has allowed high school administrators across the

country to censor high school student publications, student

speakers, plays and other activities for being inappropriate to a

high school situation.

The decision on this case could have implications on our campus

and campuses across the country. An outcome in the administration’s

favor applying Hazelwood to colleges could lead to any

school-sponsored student expressive activity (including

student-selected speakers, films, theater and student government)

being subject to administrational approval and censorship,

according to splc.org.

Of course we are opposed to such a situation, but all students

should be concerned about this case – from student government to

student organizations that put on events and bring speakers to

campus.

The courts need to consider that we are not in high school and

thus applying a high school case to college is ridiculous. Everyone

in college is either legally an adult or is mature enough to handle

their own affairs.

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