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Monday, April 02, 2007

Ind.Decisions - More on "Gay-rights article stirs debate over student freedoms"

"National groups rally to support teacher facing dismissal" is the most recent AP story on the "northeastern Indiana high school journalism teacher who faces firing for a dispute that began when a student newspaper published an editorial advocating tolerance of gays." Earlier ILB entries are here (March 31) and here (March 26).

In the March 26th entry, I discussed how, because of the 7th Circuit decision in Hosty v. Carter, which the Supreme Court declined to review last year, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier applies not only to high schools and elementary schools, but also to public universities in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. (See particularly this March 2, 2006 ILB entry quoting from a Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial.)

Today the Harvard Crimson has an editorial titled "Preserving a Free Campus Press: An Illinois law that prevents administrative meddling is an important step forward." Some quotes:

Due to Supreme Court precedent set 19 years ago in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, public high school and middle school media are currently only entitled to full first amendment protection if they are established as “public forums” for student expression. A recent decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended the Hazelwood decision to public colleges as well. That ruling was extremely troubling in its failure to see a clear distinction between a high school and college environment—in the latter, there is a far greater need for strong, independent press, a greater emphasis on the freedom and diversity of ideas, and a greater capacity for responsibility among journalists.

The College Campus Press Act—an Illinois state bill ensuring that college media at public universities is not subject to review by their administrations—addresses this troubling new standard. The Illinois Senate unanimously passed the bill last month, and it now awaits a vote by the House.

[Thanks to How Appealing for the link.]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 2, 2007 08:25 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions