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From the editor in chief: Courier editorial policy

September 11, 2015

In the first edition of the Courier each year, we publish policies of the newspaper regarding censorship and freedom of expression.

If readers have questions or concerns about these policies, they are encouraged to email the editors or write a letter to the editor for publication.

Protected Reporting

As established by the Illinois College Press Association and the Student Press Law Center, College officials or those acting on their behalf will not.

1. Prohibit criticism of the policies, practices or performance of faculty, college officials, the college itself or of any public officials.

2. Ban student expression solely because it is controversial, takes extreme, “fringe” or minority opinions, or is distasteful, unpopular or unpleasant.

3. Cut off funds to official student media because of disagreement over editorial policy.

4. Edit copy written by students unless expressly requested by a student.

5. Kill a story without a written and signed reason for censoring the story and the express written approval of the editor in chief.

6. Prohibit the endorsement of candidates for student office or for public office.

7. Engage in any activity or cause to be done to student media anything where the effect is to control, diminish, manipulate or otherwise censor students or to dismiss, punish or retaliate against students where such action is motivated by the otherwise lawful content or newsgathering activities of student media.

Unprotected Reporting

The following types of student expression are not protected by this policy:

1. Material that is obscene, as defined by state law and this policy. “Obscenity” is defined as material that meets all three of the following
requirements:

a. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the publication, taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest in sex;

b. The publication depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct such as ultimate sexual acts (normal or perverted), masturbation and lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

c. The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Indecent or vulgar language is not obscene.

2. Libelous material, as defined by state law.

3. Material that unlawfully invades a person’s right to privacy, as defined by state law.

4. Material that will cause “a material and substantial disruption” of college activities.

“Disruption” includes student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, destruction of property, or substantial student participation in a college boycott, sit-in, walkout or other related forms of seriously disruptive, physical activity. Material such as racial, religious or ethnic slurs, however distasteful, is not in and of itself disruptive under these guidelines.

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