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Student Journalist Sues University President for Allegedly Forbidding Journalism

Student Journalist Sues University President for Allegedly Forbidding Journalism

“Joining our student newspaper gave me a voice, and unfortunately it’s going to take a lawsuit for the university to listen to it”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken a special interest in this case which should concern the school.

From the FIRE blog:

LAWSUIT: Student reporter sues university president for forbidding journalism

Jared Nally is fighting for his rights — and the rights of student reporters across the country.

Nally wants Haskell Indian Nations University, a public institution operated by the federal government, to answer for the 90 days he was silenced, without any due process, under a directive that banned him from engaging in basic acts of journalism. He also wants Haskell to restore over $10,000 of funding that the university inexplicably shorted the newspaper, approve its registration as a student organization, and revise the unconstitutional policy on campus speech used to issue the directive.

Today, backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Nally and The Indian Leader filed a federal lawsuit demanding just that.

“Joining our student newspaper gave me a voice, and unfortunately it’s going to take a lawsuit for the university to listen to it,” said Nally, editor-in-chief of Haskell’s award-winning student newspaper, The Indian Leader. “It’s important for student journalists to not only know our rights, but also our role. We exist to hold our university accountable and to inform our fellow students and community. We have a right to press freedom and to share these stories.”

In October, Haskell President Ronald Graham issued a personally signed “directive” to Nally, threatening him with disciplinary action for requesting information from government agencies and failing to treat members of the Haskell community with the “highest respect” after he published articles critical of the university.

Joined by the Native American Journalists Association and the Student Press Law Center, FIRE wrote to Haskell, demanding that the university rescind its threats and reminding university leadership that they can be held personally and financially responsible for threatening freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Graham never responded.

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Comments

This is just horrible. Because this is a federal educational institution, the First Amendment is clearly at issue. What is more troubling is the number of “private” institutions of higher education that receive major federal research grants and other direct aid where free speech and the student press are curtailed under a claim of “no state action.”

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