A mini-major student press victory has emerged from a federal courtroom in Chicago. According to a Student Press Law Center news flash, and a separate Courthouse News Service report, a judge has ruled that a former editor and former faculty adviser of The Tempo at Chicago State University may continue their lawsuit against the school over alleged administrative censorship.
As the SPLC shares, “The suit accuses the school of multiple activities to censor and disrupt Tempo publication, leading to the cancellation of multiple issues. [The former student editor] alleges the school’s hostility led him to resign from his post as editor and ultimately drop out of school. He and [the former faculty adviser] claim the school harassed, censored and ultimately fired [the adviser] due to his lack of content censorship over the controversial paper, robbing the paper of its adviser.”
The judge called Tempo content “constitutionally-protected expression,” a bold redirect from the 2005 Hosty v. Carter ruling that gave admins. broad censorship rights over college journalism on par with those impacting high school journalism. The case will now go to a jury trial.
My take: Bravo. The acts of censorship carried out by Chicago State administrators disrupted the tempo of the school’s student press. They deserve an official judicial reprimand. This ruling is an important step in the fight to see that happen. The bottom line: College and high school news media are different. Both are laboratories of learning, but at the college level students are in control. They deserve freedom and protection, advising and ultimate consent, room to grow and space to fail.