Yesterday we reported that a Wyoming state judge had allowed Laramie County Community College to prevent local newspapers from publishing an internal report about the college president’s activities as chaperone to students on a trip to Costa Rica. We expressed our concern that this was an unprecedented deviation from well-established law, including a Supreme Court ruling allowing national press outlets to publish classified government papers.
Today, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the judge has rescinded the ban:
A judge today lifted a temporary restraining order that banned publication of a story about a Laramie County Community College trip that campus officials did not want printed.
Laramie County District Judge Peter G. Arnold found that the college did not prove that publishing the report would cause irreparable damage.
He also discarded LCCC’s concern that publishing the report would violate the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The lawyer for the college argued that the school could lose millions of dollars of federal funding if it violated the law.
Arnold disagreed. "The proposition that the college is going to lose federal money if the newspaper publishes it is purely speculative and not supported by any evidence properly before the court," he wrote.
This is an excellent development that we are heartened to see. Furthermore, even if the college did stand to lose money, there would be no reason to prevent the newspapers from printing the information in the report.