On May 31, 2010, the Commonwealth of Virginia and James Madison University's (JMU) student newspaper reached a settlement in a six-week dispute over access to hundreds of photos of a campus riot in April. Using a search warrant, the Commonwealth's Attorney had seized the photos in a raid on April 16.
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On Feb. 4, 2010, the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued two opinions that reached separate conclusions regarding whether schools can discipline students for material posted on social networking websites. The resulting uncertainty prompted the 3rd Circuit to vacate both opinions and schedule a rehearing of the two cases before the full circuit court.
Members of the student press faced challenges from state prosecutors in Illinois, a Supreme Court justice's staff in New York, and a school superintendent in Missouri in the fall of 2009. Meanwhile, student newspapers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania refused to run certain advertisements, citing a desire to avoid controversy and fear of libel charges.
On Jan. 25, 2008, a Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in a libel suit filed by a professor and former dean at St. Cloud State University, finding in favor of the university’s student newspaper, the University Chronicle.
The Colorado State University (CSU) student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, faced challenges in September 2007 for a controversial editorial and in January 2008 for a proposed buyout by Gannett.
Daily Nebraskan Clashes with Governor’s Office
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s office considered banning Daily Nebraskan reporters from his press conferences and excluding the student newspaper from a media e-mail list after it revealed in an April 3, 2008 story that a convicted murderer participating in a work-release program is a tour guide at the governor’s mansion.
Two California high school principals threatened their school newspapers after they disagreed with students’ editorial choices in spring 2008. Meanwhile, the California legislature passed a bill that would provide greater protection for journalism teachers, but budget issues stalled the bill at the Governor’s desk.
A federal appeals court ruled May 29, 2008 that school officials did not violate a Burlington, Conn. high school student’s First Amendment rights in denying her the position of class secretary after a she posted a personal blog entry calling school administrators “douchebags” and encouraging readers to voice their displeasure with them.
In the fallout from a conflict between Quinnipiac University officials and student journalists over posting breaking news stories on the Internet, members of The Quinnipiac Chronicle staff left to form the Quad News, an independent online publication.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled Sept. 2, 2008 that students have a right to protest by wearing black armbands to school, calling a 40-year-old landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the same issue “dispositive.”
The student newspaper at Faribault High School in Faribault, Minn. returned to the presses in February 2009 after a fight over prior review resulted in the school’s superintendent suspending publication and students turning to the local newspaper and the Internet as alternative means of publishing.
As of Jan. 1, 2009, a new California law offers journalism advisors and other school employees increased protection from retaliatory administrative action for material published by their students.