Loyola University New Orleans: Student Journalist Punished for Normal Newsgathering


Loyola University New Orleans

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

Student journalist Kloe Witt interviewed a campus police officer on March 2, 2023 and recorded the conversation with her phone in plain sight with a recording app clearly open. During the interview, Witt also received documents from the officer. On March 13, Witt received notice that Loyola charged her with (1) falsification or misuse of university records and (2) unauthorized recording. Loyola dropped the records charge following a conduct hearing on March 20 but found Witt responsible for violating its policy against non-consensual recording when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists. On March 30, FIRE wrote a memorandum arguing that those present during the interview did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and that Loyola’s punishment of Witt violates the university’s commitment to freedom of the press. In April, the university revoked the punishments and apologized to Witt, with Loyola’s president noting that the punishment was “at odds with long-standing journalism practices and applicable law.”