CMM 10: Adam Goldstein, Attorney Advocate, Student Press Law Center

CMM 10 is a spotlighting of the 10 individuals who have mattered most to college media over the past academic year.  This inaugural edition honors a mix of standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned outside advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

Adam Goldstein

Attorney Advocate, Student Press Law Center

Adam Goldstein almost always says it best.  His fight for student press rights is inspiring.  From what I hear, his knowledge of media law is absolutely insane. But what I admire most about the man is his way with words.  The sound bites and guest blogs of his that appear whenever j-students smell trouble in the water are on point, aggressive, and frequently hilarious.

A few of my recent Goldstein favorites- discussing schools’ and individuals’ anti-student-press stances or antics:

I don’t care if it’s the ghost of Richard Nixon, foaming at the mouth rabid and wearing nothing but a placard accusing [congressman Bob Etheridge] of being of questionable parentage. No matter who this is, Etheridge doesn’t have the legal right to put hands on him for asking a question.”  (Commenting on a politician’s recent bizarre grab-and-hold of someone claiming to be a student journalist)

“There is a lot wrong with this picture, not the least of it being that it took seven cops to deliver an ultimatum. Just picturing the scene in my head puts them a banjo and a washboard away from living down to every stereotype of rural southern justice. (Maybe the prosecutor thought she was hot on the trail of ‘them Duke boys!‘)” (Criticizing last semester’s police raid of The Breeze newsroom at JMU)

“Bullsh*t. That’s a flat-out freedom of association violation. [Koretzky’s] not a leader of a terrorist cell. You can’t just say, ‘You can’t talk to people.’”  (Calling out FAU administrators for their early attempts at limiting student journalists from meeting with a former adviser)

Goldstein deserves your applause, but when I meet him, I’m going to hold back. I’d much rather just hear him speak.

“Absolutely Passionate About Defending Students’ Rights”

By Frank LoMonte

If you are a college administrator who likes to grind kids under your boot, Adam Goldstein is your worst nightmare. He is a ferocious and relentless advocate, and if you try to argue with him, he will quickly expose you for a fool. Adam will admit that he’s a bit of a scary-looking guy– it doesn’t help that he dresses head-to-toe in black every day– but you have nothing to fear from him unless you’re intentionally hurting kids. That’s when Adam turns all green and starts smashing things. He is absolutely passionate about defending students’ rights, and he is a master at using every legal and diplomatic pressure point to win the day. And if that fails, he is a champion shamer. When you have been shamed by Adam, you stay shamed.

Adam has an inexhaustible memory for the minutiae of copyright law, and that is doubly remarkable when you realize how much other knowledge– from gourmet cooking to online gaming– he’s storing up there. I hope that one day he donates his brain to science, or maybe to science fiction. In addition to being a brilliant lawyer, strategist and writer, Adam keeps the office in a state of perpetual hilarity. We used to have a “quote board” with postings of inappropriate witticisms hanging on the wall, but the other day it literally collapsed under the weight of Adam’s contributions.

Last September, Adam fielded his 10,000th SPLC hotline call, and although that is a mind-blowingly large figure, Adam remembers the individual details of an astounding number of them, because to him, no call is ever a number. He gets fully immersed in every person’s story, takes the time to get to know them, and– in addition to a frighteningly large quantity of Red Bull– he is fueled by a fierce indignation when he sees authority figures abusing their power to silence less powerful people. I am glad that he is on my side.

LoMonte is the executive director of the Student Press Law Center.

9 Responses to “CMM 10: Adam Goldstein, Attorney Advocate, Student Press Law Center”
  1. Karla says:


    I’m thrilled to be the first to second this.

    Adam (along with Frank, of course) has been a tremendous resource for our student newspaper over the years and especially over the last couple months.

    And he does indeed give epic quotes. In fact, it’s because of one of those quotes that our core staff still jokes about changing Michael Koretzky’s title to “cookie monster” in our staff box.

    If journalism doesn’t pan out after I graduate, I think I’d like to be Adam Goldstein when I grow up.

    Karla Bowsher
    University Press
    Florida Atlantic University

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