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Equipment purchase does not mean content control QT30

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It has long been understood that school purchase of equipment or provision of a room that is not the only factor in who controls the content.

There other factors, including a guiding court decision.

According to Antonelli v. Hammond, “We are well beyond the belief that any manner of state regulation is permissible simply because it involves an activity which is a part of the university structure and is financed with funds controlled by the administration. The state is not necessarily the unrestrained master of what it creates and fosters.”

Even though that was about a college situation, it is applicable to student media that receive state or federal funds for their student media.

 

Policy and Guidelines

Students in designated forums for student expression control content decisions for their student media regardless of who bought the equipment.

Question: When and why should student media take down content, in print or online?

Key points/action: Simply put, state/government involvement in providing funding and facilities for student media does not give content control.

Guidance comes from a college case, Antonelli v. Hammond,  308 F, Supp. 1329 (D. Mass, 1970).

Stance: Advisers and student staffs need to understand and make others aware of this point, even adding it to editorial policies if applicable.

Reasoning/suggestions: According to the decision, “We are well beyond the belief that any manner of state regulation is permissible simply because it involves an activity which is a part of the university structure and is financed with funds controlled by the administration. The state is not necessarily the unrestrained master of what it creates and fosters.”

ResourcesAntonelli v. Hammond,  308 F, Supp. 1329 (D. Mass, 1970). Print reference is also available on page 40 of the red edition of Law of the Student Press.

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

 

 

 

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