Profs under fire

A University of Kansas journalism professor was placed on indefinite administrative leave Friday for a tweet he wrote about the Navy Yard shootings which said, “blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters.”    (AP Sept. 20, 2013)

An outspoken Naval Academy professor will return to the classroom Wednesday after the academy closed an investigation spurred by complaints from midshipmen. Academy officials declined to provide details of the complaints against English professor Bruce Fleming, saying he should be afforded privacy and a presumption of innocence. “The investigation concluded and determined that Professor Fleming should return to his normal teaching duties,” Cmdr. John Schofield, an academy spokesman, said Tuesday.  (Baltimore Sun, Sept. 17, 2013)

 

 

USA Today covers RU Speechless

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Bulletin boards have become a battleground at Radford University in Radford, Va., with students claiming university policies restrict their First Amendment rights.

The policy in question requires university approval for any flier students wish to hang on campus bulletin boards. Over the past semester, journalism professor Bill Kovarik has led a small movement called RU Speechless?, which protests this regulation, among other campus “censorship” policies, as prior restraint.

 

Story Published May 8, 2013 

Tartan covers RU Speechless

Speechles1 Speechless2Students in the First Amendment and Higher Education class are bearing flyers, a hard-hitting message and symbolically wearing red duct tape over their mouths, and have been rallying with faculty and other involved and driven students with the campaign they call “RU Speechless.”

Virginia Passes Law Protecting Religious Pluralism on Campus

March 27, 2013

Good news from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell has signed a new law that champions the American tradition of pluralism by safeguarding the freedom of association of Virginia’s public college and university students. Virginia has only become the 2nd state to pass such a law since the Supreme Court of the United States’ disappointing ruling in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.

The new law states:

§ 23-9.2:12. Student organizations; rights and recognition.

To the extent allowed by state and federal law:

1. A religious or political student organization may determine that ordering the organization’s internal affairs, selecting the organization’s leaders and members, defining the organization’s doctrines, and resolving the organization’s disputes are in furtherance of the organization’s religious or political mission and that only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities; and

2. No public institution of higher education that has granted recognition of and access to any student organization or group shall discriminate against any such student organization or group that exercises its rights pursuant to subdivision 1.

For more on this article, click here.

 

National journalism teachers group opposes censorship

The Board of Directors of AEJMC declares that no legitimate pedagogical purpose is served by the censorship of student journalism even if it reflects unflatteringly on school policies and programs, candidly discusses sensitive social and political issues, or voices opinions challenging to majority views on matters of public concern. The censorship of such speech is detrimental to effective learning and teaching, and it cannot be justified by reference to “pedagogical concerns.”

 

The full text of the resolution and press release follows:
For Immediate Release
April 2, 2013

Contact:
Dr. Kyu Ho Youm, AEJMC President
(541) 346-2178
youm@uoegon.edu

The Board of Directors of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) recently passed a resolution regarding the 25th Anniversary of the Supreme Court significantly reducing the level of First Amendment protection afforded to students’ journalistic speech in the case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier.

In the ruling, the Court’s 5-3 majority concluded that schools could lawfully censor student expressions in non-public forum media for any “legitimate pedagogical purpose,” and that among the recognized lawful purposes was the elimination of speech tending to “associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy”.

AEJMC President Kyu Ho Youm of the University of Oregon explains, “Being keenly aware of this year as the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the AEJMC Board of Directors expresses its increasing concern about the negative impact of the case on freedom of the student press. This is all the more so, when the case has been expanded far enough to apply to the college press over the past 16 years. As the leading national organization of postsecondary journalism and mass communication educators, AEJMC wishes to express its strong stand on the unwarranted abuse of Hazelwood as an easy tool of censorship against student journalists on all levels, including that of colleges and universities”.

Resolution:
In recognition of society’s increased reliance on student news-gatherers to fulfill basic community information needs, and the importance of unfiltered information about the performance of educational institutions,

In recognition of the well-documented misapplication of Hazelwood censorship authority to impede the teaching of professional journalistic values and practices, which include the willingness to question the performance of governance institutions,

In recognition that the primary concern of the Supreme Court in Hazelwood was to permit schools to restrict editorial content “unsuitable for immature audiences”, a concern inapplicable at the postsecondary level.

In recognition of the combined 150 years’ experience of states with statutory student free-press guarantees, demonstrating that the Hazelwood level of administrative control is unnecessary for the advancement of legitimate educational objectives,

Be it resolved that:
The Board of Directors of AEJMC declares that no legitimate pedagogical purpose is served by the censorship of student journalism even if it reflects unflatteringly on school policies and programs, candidly discusses sensitive social and political issues, or voices opinions challenging to majority views on matters of public concern. The censorship of such speech is detrimental to effective learning and teaching, and it cannot be justified by reference to “pedagogical concerns.”

Be it further resolved that:
The AEJMC Board of Directors declares that the Hazelwood level of control over student journalistic and editorial expression is incompatible with the effective teaching of journalistic skills, values and practices at the collegiate level, and that institutions of postsecondary education should forswear reliance on Hazelwood as a legitimate source of authority for the governance of student and educator expression.

Police encroaches on student’s 1st amendment rights in Dayton, Ohio

In June of last year, students at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, experienced conflict with the police during a “Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally”. The rally was intended to raise awareness regarding the mandates of Obamacare that requires coverage to attain any birth control substances. Participants in the rally claimed police officials required them to place any signs or banners they we’re holding, face down on the ground because they appeared as “disruptive” on the college campus. The police’s reaction to the rally sparked uproar from the students, resulting in a lawsuit. Ultimately, Sinclair Community College accepted the 10,000 in attorney fees, and sided with the students, conveying they deserve freedom of speech rights without being censored or controlled.

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