Governors State University: Censorship of Student Newspaper

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Governors State University

A college administrator at Governors State University in Illinois censored a student newspaper that was highly critical of her administration. The Seventh Circuit chose to apply Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, a Supreme Court decision allowing prior review of certain high school newspapers, to student fee-funded college media. This directly contradicted two other Supreme Court decisions by holding that a student paper or group could potentially be controlled by the university merely because for receiving funding from mandatory student fees that are considered to belong to the student body, not the university. FIRE was disappointed that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case and Greg Lukianoff concluded that, "while FIRE normally accepts courts’ interpretations of First Amendment freedoms, we will continue to argue that this case was wrongly decided. Our commitment to freedom requires no less."

  • For free student press, move off campus

    March 18, 2006

    By Jeffrey McCall at The Indianapolis Star The U.S. Supreme Court has sent a message to college student journalists: If you want full press rights, then disassociate yourselves from any financial or logistical connection to the university where you operate. In late February, the Supreme Court gave a setback to the college press. Last summer, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a ruling that expanded college administration power over student newspapers. The Supreme Court refused to hear that case on appeal. The 7th Circuit’s Hosty ruling evolved from a decision by the administration of Governors State University […]

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  • Supreme Court neglects the right to free student press

    March 8, 2006

    Royal Purple Staff Opinion The United States Supreme Court made a decision Feb. 24 that opened the door for the restriction of speech of college students nationwide. In 1988, Hazelwood vs. Ferguson secured the right of educational institutions up to and through a high school level to censor student run publications based on content. This decision was extended through the university level in June 2005 by the 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago. The district covers Wisconsin and Indiana as well, potentially subjecting a number of University of Wisconsin System publications to the same censorship. In refusing recently to hear […]

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  • Ruling could test MSC free press

    March 6, 2006

    The Daily Sentinel A recent move by the U.S. Supreme Court could dampen press freedoms at colleges across the country, especially for newspapers, such as The Criterion at Mesa State College, that receive college funding. Late last month the Supreme Court decided not to consider a case involving the administration of an Illinois public university that demanded to review the student newspaper before its publication. The appeals court decision, which affirmed the college’s right of prior review, significantly expanded a landmark 1988 case, where the Supreme Court distinguished between the First Amendment rights of elementary and high school students and […]

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  • Student editors react to ‘Hosty’ decision

    February 28, 2006

    By Ricky Ribeiro at Student Press Law Center Student editors at three student newspapers said college journalists need to start discussing the effects of Hosty v. Carter now that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case. “[Hosty]’s come up from time to time [in our newsroom],” said Aaron Seidlitz, editor in chief of Eastern Illinois University’s student newspaper, the Daily Eastern News. “Most of the time it’s with the staff and a few professors as well. I think that every collegiate newspaper should just have conversations with their advisers just to have a better understanding of the […]

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  • Court flawed in student paper ruling

    October 27, 2005

    Sometimes even federal judges make mistakes. Last week the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed an amicus brief in Hosty v. Carter, the recent 7th Circuit Court ruling that allows colleges to censor student newspapers that receive a substantial amount of funding from that college. FIRE’s brief joins two others in support of Margaret Hosty, Jeni Porche and Steven Barba — the three students suing Dean Patricia Carter, alleging a violation of the First Amendment. The story begins late in 2000, when the Innovator, the student newspaper for Governors State University, published a number of articles critical of the […]

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  • In-depth: Words Left Unsaid

    October 27, 2005

    By Sundeep Malladi at The Badger Herald Dedicated to the pursuit of truth, universities create forums for discussion. According to many, this basic foundation shook on June 20, 2005, when the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals gave universities the right to censor student newspapers. The Hosty v. Carter ruling has come under fire in recent months from several First Amendment rights groups and media watchdogs that found the ruling both shocking and appalling. This week, a coalition of several major groups headed by the Virginia-based Student Press Law Center (SPLC), delivered their friend-of-the-court, or amicus, brief to the Supreme […]

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  • Three briefs urge Supreme Court to hear ‘Hosty v. Carter’ case

    October 20, 2005

    By Kim Peterson at Student Press Law Center WASHINGTON D.C. — More than 30 groups are represented in three briefs filed this week urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal in the Hosty v. Carter case. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed a brief yesterday joined by 10 other free expression advocacy groups, including several that have defended the rights of campus conservatives. Journalism education groups and some of the nation’s top journalism schools filed their own brief today. The Student Press Law Center, joined by 14 student and professional news media organizations, filed a brief […]

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  • Assault on College Press

    October 17, 2005

    By Harvey Silverglate at The National Law Journal Independent college journalism may soon be a relic of the past—on a par with typewriters and eight-track cassette players—in at least three states, and potentially throughout the country. This past summer, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which presides over Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, applied to colleges and universities the censorship rules designated years ago by the Supreme Court to govern elementary and high school journalism. The implications are far-reaching and severe: Public university administrators, seemingly more sensitive than ever to criticism, as well as to dissent against prevailing opinion, no […]

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  • College newspapers fight for rights

    September 22, 2005

    By Erin France at The Daily Tar Heel The U.S. Supreme Court received a petition Tuesday to review a case from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that could affect free press policies on college campuses nationwide. The 7th circuit overturned a lower court decision this summer that ruled in favor of Margaret Hosty, who sued Patricia Carter, then dean of student affairs and services at Governors State University in Illinois, for censoring the school newspaper. The move was criticized by several First Amendment watch groups. Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said the case […]

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  • Supreme Court asked to take up college-press case

    September 20, 2005

    First Amendment Center The U.S. Supreme Court could define and clarify how much First Amendment protection college and university newspapers possess — if it accepts review in the highly watched case Hosty v. Carter. In June 2005, the full panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Patricia Carter, a dean at Governor’s State University in Illinois, was entitled to qualified immunity from a lawsuit filed by three former student journalists for The Innovator, a student newspaper. That decision conflicted with decisions by a federal district court and a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit. The three […]

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  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    By Greg Lukianoff in The Boston Globe As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at colleges from New York to California, the Department of Education finally clarified that “harassment” does not mean just being offended, and Texas Tech University had to admit that its lone 20-foot-wide “free speech gazebo” was inadequate space for […]

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  • Free Speech Groups Worry ‘Hosty’ Ruling Will Scale Back Students’ First Amendment Rights

    June 23, 2005

    By Sean Hill at Student Press Law Center Media and free speech groups warn that a decision this week by a federal appeals court could have damaging consequences for free speech on college and university campuses. “It is a sad day for journalism in the United States,” Society of Professional Journalists President Irwin Gratz said in a statement in response to Monday’s decision in Hosty v. Carter. “In the states covered by this ruling, students will now spend eight years with prior review and censorship as part of their journalistic experience.” The Society was among a group of 25 free […]

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  • Free Press 101

    December 1, 2003

    By Erich Wasserman at Arbiter Online The recent seizure of an entire press run of the student newspaper, the Hampton Script, by Hampton University administrators is the latest in a sad history of censorship, and now even theft, of student publications by administrators on college and university campuses across the country. At Hampton, acting President JoAnn Haysbert ordered an entire press run confiscated. What had the students done to provoke such a reprisal? Had they published hard-core pornography or incited riots by printing demonstrable falsehoods? No, they had merely done their job by reporting on hundreds of health code violations […]

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  • FIRE Disappointed with Supreme Court’s Refusal to Take ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    February 24, 2006

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is deeply disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Hosty v. Carter, leaving student newspapers at public universities in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin vulnerable to administrative censorship. “Hosty v. Carter is simply the most harmful Court of Appeals decision regarding student freedom of speech in higher education to come down in a generation,” stated FIRE Interim President Greg Lukianoff. “The Supreme Court passed up an important opportunity to vindicate student rights and restore clarity […]

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  • FIRE Files Brief Urging Supreme Court to Hear Student Newspaper Censorship Case

    October 19, 2005

    WASHINGTON, October 19, 2005—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of Hosty v. Carter, a Seventh Circuit decision that poses a grave threat to student press freedom. “The Seventh Circuit’s decision in Hosty v. Carter has the potential to destroy freedom of the press on campus,” declared FIRE President David French. “We hope that the Supreme Court will intervene and undo this potentially disastrous opinion.” FIRE’s brief was joined by a remarkable coalition of nonprofit groups including Accuracy in Academia, the American Council of Trustees and […]

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  • Seventh Circuit Decision Threatens Student Press Freedom

    September 19, 2005

    PHILADELPHIA, September 19, 2005—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is rallying opposition to Hosty v. Carter, a recent Seventh Circuit decision that could be used to severely restrict student speech.  On Friday, the plaintiffs’ attorney filed the formal petition to the United States Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, and today FIRE releases its policy statement condemning the opinion.  FIRE also plans to file an amicus brief and is seeking to forge a broad coalition opposing the decision. “Hosty is a grave threat to liberty on campus,” declared FIRE President David French.  “The decision stands against a long […]

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  • FIRE Policy Statement on ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    September 19, 2005

    SUMMARY OF FIRE’S POSITION The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s en banc opinion in Hosty v. Carter, No. 01-4155 (7th Cir. June 20, 2005), is a poorly conceived opinion that, if upheld, will do serious harm to freedom of speech on campus far beyond the realm of student media. The Court ruled that a dean of students who exercised prior restraint over a student newspaper—unequivocally because of its viewpoint—is entitled to immunity from liability. It also decided that the logic of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier—an opinion that has been used to drastically curtail the rights of high school […]

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