November 30th, 2009
CMA, Inc. Releases Annual Publication: Keeping Free Presses Free
By Andrew M. Seaman
Andrea Breemer Frantz, associate professor of journalism at Robert Morris University and a member of the CMA First Amendment Committee, discusses her experience and thoughts on the First Amendment and private universities in “When the First Amendment doesn’t apply: Teaching free speech and press at private schools presents challenges.”
Breemer Frantz also revisits Tinker v. Des Moines, one of the most important Supreme Court cases for students in U.S. history, by interviewing Mary Beth Tinker in “Wearing our constitutional rights as we walk through the schoolhouse gate.”
Tinker, her brother John, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt wore black armbands in 1965 as a way to protest the Vietnam War. They were quickly disciplined by the school district.
As Breemer Frantz writes, “What began as a simple call for peace by a handful of teen-agers quickly developed into a precedent-setting challenge before the Supreme Court to determine just how far the First Amendment could stretch to those under the age of 18.”
The article celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 7-2 Supreme Court decision, which said First Amendment rights do not end at the schoolhouse door.
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, discusses current and past court battles resulting from online publications and cyberbullying laws in “More students facing online censorship.”
According to LoMonte, some states have enacted cyberbullying laws with broad language, which results in “open-ended enforcement discretion that can easily be manipulated by govern¬ment officials looking to stifle legitimate speech.”
LoMonte also discusses the pitfalls of being a student media adviser in “The cost of defending students’ rights: Two advisers lose jobs for defending the rights of their students.”
The publication also features a roundup of 15 college press cases through the years, an informative article on obtaining a $5,000 grant as part of the Liberty Tree Initiative, and a great article on SPLC’s Adam Goldstein answering 10,000 legal requests since 2003.
You can find the publication at the CMA website.