Maryland Adopts Student Press Freedom Law

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Students at public schools and colleges in Maryland have a guaranteed right to run their news organizations as they see fit without unwanted intrusion from advisors, faculty, staff, the school board, the county board or the state, according to a law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in April.

At MC that means the editors of the Excalibur (MCTPSS), the Globe (MCG) and the Advocate (MCR) have a right to post to their websites or print in their papers the news, features and stories they see fit. Student editors may not lose their jobs for pursuing and publishing the news, nor may their advisors be ousted for protecting their students’ rights.

At the same time, the Advisors may not step in to stop production or to edit stories without the full consent of the editor(s). It really is the student editors’ newsroom to run!

This law actually reaffirms a Supreme Court decision roughly 50 years old that says college students, being adults, did not give up their rights to free speech and press just because they stepped on a campus. This gives that law the full backing of the Maryland government.

There is a but (there’s always a but), Montgomery College still must write its own policy that fits with the new law. However, the college cannot write in rules that take away freedoms.

It’s really a win for student news in Maryland (and, with luck, will bleed over to other places).

(FYI: Sen. Jamie Raskin (above) introduced the bill. I know the governor shown in the featured, banner, image on this post is the former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. It just happens that he’s in a meeting with student journalists there. –ST)


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