Chicago State Ordered By Law to Reinstate Fired Student Newspaper Adviser (#freepressvictory)

In a fascinating First Amendment and free press ruling, a federal judge has ordered Chicago State University to rehire a student newspaper adviser fired in 2008 after articles critical of the CSU administration were published.

According to local news media and a Student Press Law Center report, the school must reinstate Steven Moore to his previous position– executive director of communications– for at least one year and erase negative references within his employment records.  Firing him, the federal judge overseeing the case confirmed, was a violation of his free speech rights.

CSU hired Moore in 2008 in part to help relaunch the student newspaper Tempo.  He did, successfully, but then was canned in fall 2008 “days after an article questioning the funding of a student-run fashion show was published, and following months of tensions between the newspaper and the administration over Tempo‘s coverage. The university claimed Moore was fired for writing unsatisfactory press releases.”  The Tempo once again folded roughly a year later.

Moore: “I think it was a victory for student press rights.  I trust that people will learn from this episode and understand that the student press has the same rights as the regular press does, and maybe they’ll come to better accommodate those rights in a way that something like this never happens again.”

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