College papers in the western U.S. not necessarily safe from censorship

April 18, 2003

By Robert De Koven at Arizona Daily Wildcat

College journalists received a victory last week when a federal appellate ruled that college newspapers enjoy greater First Amendment protection than do high school newspapers. Many feared that an adverse outcome in the case would have allowed college administrators to pressure campus papers to censor popular columns like UC Berkeley’s “Sex on Tuesday.” The case involved student editors of The Innovator, a student paper at Governors State University, located in Chicago. The dean of students there ordered the printer of the paper not to print it without her approval. The students refused to give the dean prior review over the paper. The students sued. The paper hasn’t published since. In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court held that high school officials can review and censor inappropriate articles in school papers. It’s worth noting that California law prohibits censoring articles. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit followed other courts in holding that the 1988 case could not be applied to college journalists. “While it’s a victory so far for college media, it’s likely that the college will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court,” noted Robert DeKoven, a professor at California Western School of Law and columnist for U-Wire, a syndication service for college newspapers. DeKoven noted that it is possible that the Court will accept the case for review because there is a conflict in the circuits now with regard to whether college students and high school students are the same...

Schools: University of California, Santa Barbara Cases: University of California, Santa Barbara: Censorship of Student Thesis