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Community college gets away with retaliating against student journalists and faculty adviser

Student journalists sued Muscatine Community College earlier this year for allegedly retaliating against them (and their faculty adviser) for their coverage, which included using a headshot of an administrator who complained he didn’t give them permission to use it.

After losing a bid for a preliminary injunction against the school in court, the journalists – many of whom have now left the school – are throwing in the towel.

The Student Press Law Center reports that the students’ lawyer, Bryan Clark, isn’t upset that the lawsuit stalled, since “folks are only there [at a community college] for a short time”:

“I think the suit definitely gave the students an opportunity to stand up for their First Amendment rights while they were there and shine a light on what’s been going on. Hopefully it’s been a learning experience.”

RELATED: School’s new dean told paper it couldn’t run his picture without permission

The court said the journalists hadn’t demonstrated “irreparable harm” from the administration’s action against them – including rescheduling their journalism classes to “marginalize” the newspaper – and that even removing their adviser wasn’t evidence of retaliation or intimidation.

The only bright spots to emerge from the conflict: Some of the Calumet staffers started their own independent paper, The Spotlight, and journalism organizations launched a “boot camp” for college journalists reporting under fire.

Read the story.

RELATED: Student journalists launch indie newspaper while their censorship lawsuit plays out

RELATED: Student journalists go to ‘boot camp’ to fight college crackdowns on their reporting

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