Irwin Gratz, President, (207) 329-6203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is disappointed in Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the matter of Hosty v. Carter, applying the “Hazelwood” restrictions on high school students to college students.
In the Hazelwood matter, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 ruling gives high schools the ability to restrict the free speech rights of student newspapers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Monday that the same may apply to student newspapers subsidized by public colleges and universities.
The matter before the Seventh Circuit arose when student editors of The Innovator sued Governors State University (Ill.) administrators and trustees in 2001 after Dean Patricia Carter told the company that printed the newspaper that a university administrator had to first approve the paper’s content. The Innovator has since ceased publication.
“It is a sad day for journalism in the United States,” said SPJ President Irwin Gratz. “In the states covered by this ruling, students will now spend eight years with prior review and censorship as part of their journalistic experience. As our good friend, Mark Goodman of the Student Press Law Center recently reminded us, given that education, how can we expect these young people to grow to become forceful advocates of the First Amendment?”
The Society regularly receives complaints from college students who believe their rights as journalists are being infringed upon by school officials. SPJ has and will continue to assign task forces to evaluate such complaints. The Society will continue to point out to administrators in states outside the 7th circuit that the law allows college journalists full, First Amendment rights. And The Society will continue to work to increase, rather than decrease, the rights of student journalists.
The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.