Media Advisers Mobilizing p. 13

By: Editorial Staff THE COLLEGE MEDIA Advisers are mobilizing their members to fight colleges who want to make public high school censorship rules apply to campus newspapers.
"We see what is happening in Texas," said Rosalind Florez, chair of the CMA legal affairs committee. "And we will do everything in our power to see that it doesn't happen in the rest of the country."
The University of Texas university system is being pressured into adopting rules that would give administrators editorial control over student-run newspapers.
J. Robert Giddings, the chief attorney in the UT system, has cited the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision ? Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier ? as the legal basis for placing restrictions on student publications.
Giddings says the UT system needs the editorial power because it would have to pay for defamation or libel damages arising out of suits against student newspapers or magazines.
Florez said, however, that the Supreme Court has always differentiated between high school and college media.
The CMA will hold a special session at the CMA fall convention in Chicago to educate advisers and student journalists on how to handle administrators who try to use the Hazelwood decision as a lever on college journalism.
The college advisers began plotting their strategy last month at its New York convention.
The group involved in the mobilizing effort, in addition to Florez, includes Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center; John David Reed of Eastern Illinois University and Roger Soenksen of James Madison University.
Florez said the Texas censorship campaign makes no sense from a legal point of view, but is concerned the state will win a Hazelwood-like court decision at the college level.
The University of Texas-Pan American is being cited as the most likely place for a test case to occur.
The Pan American, the student newspaper, was recently transferred from the division of student affairs to the communication department.
The student editors of the newspaper resigned after they said Robert Rollins, the paper's adviser, instituted controls under which they could not operate.
Rollins, who said he opposes Hazelwood-like conditions at universities, has denied imposing any form of censorship at the paper.
"I am totally in favor of student control of the paper," Rollins said. "Although, I believe that an adviser should examine copy for possible libelous material before it is published."
Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com.
copyright: Editor & Publisher - April 19, 1997


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here