Santa Clara University: Student Newspaper Censored After Administrators’ Request

Category: Cases, Free Speech

On February 2, 2017, Santa Clara University (SCU) student newspaper The Santa Clara published an article about a $100 million donation from an SCU alumnus. The article included a comment from the alumnus that appeared to criticize an SCU dean. A week later, SCU Vice Provost Jeanne Rosenberger called The Santa Clara’s editor-in-chief and requested she remove the article. When pressed for a justification, Rosenberger referred the editor-in-chief to SCU General Counsel John Ottoboni, who would only speak with the newspaper on the condition that it would be off the record. In an editorial about the censorship demand, The Santa Clara said SCU failed to honor the “longstanding, explicit understanding” between the university and the paper “regarding editorial control over the content in this publication.” On March 7, 2017, FIRE wrote to SCU asking the university to reaffirm its commitment to free expression and respect The Santa Clara’s editorial independence.