Twitter Facebook Google Plus Pinterest Storify
Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909

Advertise with SPJ

News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr

More SPJ News
Press Notes
SPJ Blogs
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
Press Notes
SPJ News
Open Doors
Geneva Conventions
Annual FOI Reports

Home > SPJ News > SPJ Legal Defense Fund supports student paper's open records lawsuit

SPJ News
Latest SPJ News | RSS

SPJ Legal Defense Fund supports student paper's open records lawsuit



For Immediate Release:

Dave Aeikens, SPJ President, (320) 255-8744,
Karen Grabowski, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 x. 215,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists has granted Virginia Tech’s student-run newspaper, the Collegiate Times, $1,000 from its Legal Defense Fund to help with the cost of an open records lawsuit the paper filed in West Virginia.

On May 19, The Collegiate Times sued the West Virginia State Police to obtain records related to a 10-year-old disappearance of a Virginia Tech student. The state police denied the paper’s two FOIA requests for access citing an exemption in West Virginia’s open records law. The exemption states that police records will remain closed when they are part of an ongoing investigation where disclosure could hurt the investigation. The Collegiate Times does not believe the specific records they requested can hurt any ongoing proceedings, and further argues that it believes with the requested documents, the paper’s report could help the investigation.

The paper’s editorial adviser, Kelly Furnas, told The Roanoke Times June 12 that The Collegiate Times is “seeking full or partial access to the records as they do not believe every word of every document could possibly be detrimental the investigation … (and with) access to police records, (they) truly hope (they) can provide their readers a much clearer picture of what may or may not have happened.”

“This is an important case about public information,” SPJ President Dave Aeikens said. “The school paper has a reasonable request that should be honored. We hope that by putting Legal Defense Fund dollars behind it, the paper will get the information it seeks to make public.”

The SPJ Legal Defense Fund is used to aid journalists in defending the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Grant money can be used to initiate and support litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings. For more information about the SPJ Legal Defense Fund, or to make a donation, visit

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit


Copyright © 1996-2015 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ