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The Reporter

January/February 2001
Volume 5, Issue

Recruitment and Retention plans top New York Agenda

The early version of the annual CMA/CSPA national convention is history, but good history. Our President, Dr. William Lawbaugh has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. He received the prestigious Gold Key award, yet another recognition of his contributions to Press Freedom for collegiate journalists.

We were also able to work in a National Council meeting, and after some sputtering we are going to put some energy into SCJ's Recruitment and Retention Plans. The National Office Intern, Jeff Say, will be making personal contact with every SCJ chapter. He will continue last year's effort to develop a database by again asking for your time and assistance in filling out the Society for Collegiate Journalist's DCI-Data Collection Instrument.

But that is only the beginning. We will soon be distributing national maps indicating your Region and your RLC-Regional Liaison Chapter. RLCs will be chosen on the basis of their longevity, their continuing leadership, and their contribution to SCJ and Collegiate Journalism. RLCs will be invited to host a College Media Day, or to empower another active SCJ chapter in their Region to take on that task. As per the actions of the National Council in Washington, Autumn 2000, chapters hosting authorized College Media Days will be allocated $250. This allocation can be used at the discretion of the host chapter; it can provide a stipend for the keynote speaker; it can fund sessions; it can be used for a reception-whatever advances the structure and content of a College Media Day. In addition, National Office will work with the event planners supplying, but not requiring, the basic form for a CMD, we are now calling it "the Clarion Model."

The Clarion Model has been developed, modified and employed for four years now. It produces a solid one-day academic/social event and it provides a forum for student media practitioners, academics, and media professionals to meet and discuss issues of mutual importance. It also fills the vacume created when SCJ National Council reluctantly decided it go to New York for a "big city" venue for its biennial National Convention. The convention served the organization effectively; the chapter delegates met and completed the business of SCJ, but we lost the refreshing ambiance of a college campus and the gracious support of the host chapter, perhaps, if our plans find enthusiasm and support, we will have five such events each year instead of one every two years. In any event, plans for Clarion University's fifth College Media Day are already underway - join us.

In addition to the development and implementation of CMDs, the National Office will be making assignments--we are all familiar with the nefarious ploys of the academy. Every chapter will be provided contact information for the recruitment of a new chapter and, in addition, the revival of a nearby defunct chapter. It is assumed that each chapter will attend to its own needs, as well as initiating new members to keep it in Active Status.

Remember, our goal is to triple SCJ.

Remember, SCJ National is engaging in more than just moral suasion--we have a past practice of financially supporting Chapter initiatives. If you make a 'road trip' to visit or help in an initiation ceremony, then send us your mileage, and National will reimburse your travel costs at the rate of $.25 a mile; if you incur additional expenses during recruitment drives, send National the receipts; one caveat -recruitment/retention expenses will be honored at the discretion of the Executive Director-the rule is 'reasonable expenses'. I don't want to buy pizza for every college student in Peoria.

So let's gear up for Spring, now!

* Dr. Arthur H. Barlow is the SCJ National Executive Director and a associate professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Appeals court rules on confiscation of Kentucky State University yearbooks violated First Amendment

In a landmark ruling, a panel of federal appellate judges said, in January, that Kentucky State University officials violated the First Amendment when they confiscated the student yearbook, The Thorobred, because of the book's content and quality. In doing so, the court rejected the lower court's application of a high school based censorship standard to expression by American college students.

"KSU officials' confiscation of the yearbooks violates the First Amendment and the university has no constitutionally valid reason to withhold distribution of the 1992-94 Thorobred from KSU students from that era," wrote Judge R. Guy Cole for the majority.

Today's 10-3 ruling in Kincaid v. Gibson by a panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati was being watched closely by both school administrators and student media around the country. A contrary ruling could have given school officials significant leeway in censoring student news media and other forms of student expression on campus.

A coalition of civil rights associations, media organizations and journalism education groups, including every accredited journalism program in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee -- the states within the jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit -- had urged the court to strike down KSU's actions as unconstitutional.

Today's ruling follows a September 1999 decision by a divided three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals that found KSU officials had not violated student First Amendment rights when they confiscated the student yearbook and transferred the student publications adviser to a secretarial position after she refused to censor material critical of the university in the student newspaper. The yearbooks, which school officials objected to in part because the student editor chose to include a current events section and to make the cover purple instead of using the school colors, were never distributed and have been locked in a KSU storage room since their confiscation six years ago.

In that decision, the court had said that a high school-based censorship standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1988 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision should also guide judges when determining the amount of legal protection for expression on the country's public college and university campuses. The decision -- the first such ruling of its kind -- was in stark contrast to court decisions over the past 30 years that have provided strong First Amendment protection to college student media.

In a rarely exercised legal procedure, the Court of Appeals threw out its initial decision in November 1999 and agreed to rehear the case before a larger panel of judges.

In today's decision, the majority noted a number of Supreme Court decisions that have found that the "university environment is the quintessential 'marketplace of ideas' which merits full, or indeed heightened, First Amendment protection" and rejected the court's application of Hazelwood to the college yearbook at issue.

"Nearly 13 years to the day after the Supreme Court allowed school officials greater censorship authority over the expression of many high school students, the court today has drawn a clear and strong line saying that such censorship must stop at the college gate," said Student Press Law Center Executive Director Mark Goodman.

The court flatly rejected KSU's argument that school officials were entitled to confiscate the yearbook because they were disappointed with the publication's quality and content.

Calling confiscation "amongst the purest forms of content alteration," Judge Cole wrote: "We will not sanction a reading of the First Amendment that permits government officials to censor expression in a limited public forum in order to coerce speech that pleases the government."

"It took some time, but this court finally got this case right," Goodman said. "As this court's decision indicates, the very idea that books have been locked away by government officials on a public university campus for the past six years so that students cannot read them is more reminiscent of a third-world dictatorship than our American democracy. Kentucky State University will now have to live down its reputation as the university that attempted to bring an end to the free expression rights of college students.

"I can only hope that this ruling will serve as a wake-up call to other colleges and universities in the country that are inclined to censor the student press," he said. "This is a resounding endorsement of the free-press rights of college journalists."

Kentucky State University officials have not yet said whether they will appeal the case or when or how they will distribute the yearbooks.

* This story is reprinted from the Student Press Law Center web site. The Student Press Law Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing legal help and information to the student media and journalism educators. Check them out on-line at

In the SCJ Spotlight:
Shawn P. Shanley

wpe1.jpg (10268 bytes)Shawn P. Shanley a Junior at Lock Haven University majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications and minoring in Leadership Studies is in the first SCJ Spotlight of the new year.

Shanley serves SCJ national council as a chapter representative.

Shanley is the current president of SCJ Lock Haven and serves as Editor in Chief, distribution manager, and online editor for the Lock Haven student newspaper, the Eagle Eye . In addition to these positions he previously served as sports editor. In May of 2000 Shanely received the Saundra K. Hybels Memorial Journalism Scholarship for his work in the classroom.

Shanley has recently been honored by being named to both the National Dean's List and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

His career aspiration is to work in online communications, perhaps for a newspaper or magazine.

He has been very active in keeping the Lock Haven SCJ chapter one of the organization's finest. In 1996 LHU hosted a biennial SCJ National Convention.

Recently Shanley and fellow members of the LHU chapter attended the CMA/CSPA National Convention where he attended the National Council meeting.

Congratulations To Our Newest Members

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney, NE - 4 new members

  • Ocean County Community College, NJ - 3 new members

  • SUNY at New Paltz, NY - 10 new members

  • Northeast Texas Community College, TX - 9 new members

  • Elizabethtown College, PA - 14 new members

  • Mount Saint Mary's College, MD - 1 new member

  • Murray State University, KY - 3 new members

And welcome to our newest chapter at Northeast Texas Community College, TX, advised by Dr. Larry C. Thompson. A special congratulations to our founding members; Nicole Elizabeth Blalock, Amber Angelique Cullen, Betty May Davis, Joshua Ed Kessler, Joshua Douglas Sexton, Cassidy B. Smith, Mandy S. Smith, Richard Wesley Stayton, and Barbara Dacus

On another note…

SCJ adviser, John Dillon and 11 members of the Murray State chapter of SCJ recently organized and conducted a workshop about how their campus media operate. The workshop was presented to about 35 Murray High School (Kentucky) students. The group presented information about the newspaper, the organization, and the TV station.

Mark your calendars now for the premiere public policy event of the community newspaper industry!

Annual Government
Affairs Conference (GAC)
Washington, DC
March 21-24, 2001

With a new administration taking office, the 2001 GAC promises to be especially valuable. Come and join us - every voice counts and it is important that our voice be heard.

Let's Head to the Hill and welcome the New Administration with a New GAC!

The SCJ Reporter

The SCJ newsletter is published once a month during the fall and spring semesters in accordance with the Clarion University of Pennsylvania academic calendar. It is created on a Tangent computer using Microsoft Publisher 2000.

Editor: Mary Beth Curry

Please send submissions to:

Dr. Arthur Barlow
Becker Hall
Clarion University
Clarion, PA 16214


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Clarion University of Pennsylvania
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