Student press at public universities: impact of significant United States court cases from 1967 to 1993



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Texas Tech University


College student newspapers serve their campus communities by providing information and a forum for discussion. They also provide a valuable learning experience and training ground for students. However, the existence of college newspapers can be problematic to the institution itself. Numerous lawsuits have arisen as a result of the student newspaper and the role of the student editor in relation to the administration of public institutions. First Amendment and related press issues including censorship, distribution, editorial/commercial advertising, and unprotected speech have all been areas of legal activity on the public college campus.

United States state and federal courts have consistently held that the Constitution applies to all persons, including students, and that students have a cause for action under the Fourteenth Amendment when such rights have been violated through state actions. This view of protected freedoms of all Americans, including those of students on college campuses, has been reinforced in many cases and has become the foundation for extending constitutional guarantees to members of the college student press.

This is a study of significant state and federal United States Court cases that have impacted the student press at public universities from 1967 to 1993. The general purpose is to add to the existing knowledge about these court cases by analyzing and synthesizing the data into an accurate account of the legal issues involved and their impact on the college student press. The specific purpose is to provide information useful for administrative policy development and specific operational guidelines related to the student press at public universities.

By reviewing cases determined at the appellate or United States Supreme Court level during this period, the researcher has provided a body of information including summaries of significant cases, trends over the period, and guidelines for determining the rights and restrictions of both the student newspaper and the public institution. To facilitate use of the study, the researcher has delineated court cases by issues and in chronological order so that the reader might best utilize the findings for the most current rulings on pertinent issues affecting institutions of higher education and the college student press.



Press law -- United States, University presses -- United States, College student newspapers and periodicals -- Law