U.S. Court of Appeals upholds KSU confiscation in ’94

By: Joe Strupp

The attorney representing Kentucky State University students, who sued campus officials for confiscating thousands of copies of the 1994 student yearbook, says he will seek a review of last week’s federal court of appeals decision upholding the university’s actions.
Bruce Orwin, who argued for the students before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, says the court’s split decision, handed down Sept. 8, is a slap against press freedom.
“It really has cut into students’ journalism rights,” says Orwin, who says he will ask the appeals court to review the case again. “We’re disappointed.”
But Guthrie True, the university’s lawyer, disagrees. He says the ruling is proper because the yearbook is not similar to a newspaper. “It is not a public forum,” he says. “It was not created to be open for public comment.”
The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that has allowed Kentucky State University to keep more than 2,000 copies of a yearbook confiscated by the university in 1994. The case, known as Kincaid vs. Gibson, has been closely watched by student press freedom advocates, who fear it could set a precedent.
The battle began when university officials at the Frankfort, Ky., campus confiscated copies of the student-produced yearbook, “The Thorobred.” Campus officials claimed that the yearbooks should not be distributed because their color design did not include the school colors, and that some of the inside work, including a current events section, was of “poor quality.”
(Editor & Publisher WebSite:http:www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 11, 1999) [Caption]

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