Re: UNC computing policy

Last semester, I wrote a law paper on First Amendment protections for
student-produced Web pages at public universities. A synopsis is at

The gist is that since the 1960s federal and state courts have upheld the
First Amendment rights of college students at public universities.
Specifically, courts repeatedly have said administrators can't censor
student editors in the name of making them behave "responsibly, ethically,
politely," etc. I contend, using what the courts have said, that student
home pages are just another form of student expression, no less deserving
of First Amendment protections than student-run newspapers.

I made essentially the same argument about on-line student publications in
a conference paper I presented last summer. Since then, the ACLU v. Reno
decision made the connection between Web and paper formats stronger. In the
statement of findings, the panel of judges recognized the World Wide Web as
a "publishing" medium in which "personal home pages" are "the equivalent of
individualized newsletters about that person or organization."

I concluded that once administrators decide to allow student home pages,
they have to keep their hands off the content.


*       Joey Senat                                          *
*       Doctoral Student                                    *
*       School of Journalism & Mass Communication           *
*       University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill          *
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*       Voice:  (910) 584-6172                              *
*       E-Mail:  jsenat@email.unc.edu                       *
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