Florida International University: Athletics Press Pass Policy Risks Rights of Student Journalists

Category: Due Process, Free Speech
Schools: Florida International University

In August 2019, Florida International University’s student newspaper, PantherNOW, announced FIU had denied it football press credentials for the current season after the newspaper reported last season that a player was continuing to play while a warrant was out for his arrest. While PantherNOW editors reported their credentials were quickly restored and the university said it never denied the newspaper credentials, the situation highlights a troubling press pass policy that does not comport with FIU’s First or Fifth Amendment obligations. The policy as written allows credentials to be denied or revoked for any reason, including those based on content or viewpoint. Further, the policy provides no due process protections for student journalists or other reporters seeking press credentials. On September 20, 2019, FIRE wrote to FIU to encourage it to revise its press pass policy to comply with constitutional protections for student press.