Front Page Titles (by Subject) Student Press and Autonomy - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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Student Press and Autonomy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Student Press and Autonomy
“The Student Press: Institutional Prerogatives Versus Individual Rights.” Journal of College Student Personnel 19 (1978): 16–20.
Student newspapers have created numerous problems for college administrators while the benefits of such newspapers often appear dubious. Court decisions indicate that “public institutions have little leeway with respect to the First Amendment's prohibition against ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’” The college is limited in its powers even when a mandatory student activity fee is used in the financing of the student newspaper. This question also raises issues of autonomy.
Not only is political material appearing in student newspapers protected, but also materials which may be offensive to good taste or which violate conventions of decency. Only material that meets the Supreme Court's narrow definition of obscenity escapes protection. Further, it must be shown that actual harm would result from exposure to obscene material and that it “outweighs the danger of free expression in censorship without procedural safe-guards” (from Antonelli v. Hamond, 1970).
One recommendation suggests that college newspapers be set up as independent corporations, separately financed and not legally connected to the institution. However, it is doubtful how many campuses would be able to maintain a paper which did not receive financial support from the school or from student activities fees. It is true that such a system would provide legal protection to the school regarding material appearing in the student newspaper. But such protections may not be needed. The author reports being unable to find a single instance in which a university was held liable for defamatory words appearing in its student newspaper. (The individuals writing defamatory material are, of course, legally liable for what is published.)
Enrollment in a college or university does not convey special privileges upon a student. It does not “give them rights to immunity or special consideration and does not permit them to violate the constitutional rights of others.”
Private colleges and universities appear to have greater latitude in censoring student publications since they are not agencies of the state. This privilege, however, seems educationally indefensible to Gibbs.