Freedom of expression is highly valued at the Weekly. We appreciate being able to operate with access to administrators and faculty. We appreciate working for an independent press. We support the students from Governors State University, IL because not all colleges have this privilege. On Dec. 10, the Seventh District U.S. Court of Appeals will determine the future of college press. The case, Hosty v. Carter, was brought by student journalists when college administration at Governors State University told the campus printer not to publish the school paper until it had been approved.
If the Court of Appeals finds in favor of Carter, then the decision will allow college administrators to preview and censor student publications across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. This should not happen. The First Amendment must not be limited for college press. Censorship is supposed to be un-American. Free speech is important.
Because we live in a time when mainstream press is afraid of criticizing our government, fear maybe reinforced by censoring college papers. Governors State University administration believes that because of the abundant criticism it received from the newspaper, it has the right to view the final product before it goes to press in order to filter out bad content. Have college newspapers become their college’s public relations newsletter? Are they only funded in order to promote their college?
No college official has the right to determine what is good and what is distasteful in a student paper. Nor do officials have the right to keep the paper from printing. It is students’ basic right to free speech and expression that allows us to publish without censorship. Our right to the First Amendment was taken for granted and now it could be in danger with this case.
If administrators are granted the right to view and approve a college newspaper’s content, then it could lead to administrators viewing a professor’s lecture prior to class, or previewing a guest speaker’s speech to students. We urge the Mills community to support Student Press Law Center in its work fighting against this case.