appeals court considers college newspaper limits
The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a legal challenge to a move by a college administration to approve the school's student newspaper before publication. The Associated Press Managing Editors Association and the American Society of Newspaper Editors have weighed in on the issue, fearing that the case could extend to college newspapers a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gives high school principals power to control student publications.
The heart of the controversy is a telephone call placed by Governors State University Dean of Student Affairs Patricia Carter to the printer of the school's student paper, ordering that the printing be halted until a school official had reviewed the stories. The call came too late and the paper was published, but the printer, fearing the college would refuse to pay for newspapers it considered controversial, has declined to print further issues. Student editors Jeni Porche and Margaret Hosty had launched investigations of what they claimed were improprieties on campus, including grade inflation and overly generous student stipends. Relations with the administration soured, leading to Carter's call in October 2000. The paper has not resumed publication since then.
The administration contends that censorship never took place, but the student editors claim that the dean's office urged that positive stories appear and they refused.