Western Illinois University Suspends the Student Editor-in-Chief

ACADEME BLOG

Nicholas Stewart, a student at Western Illinois University, and editor-in-chief of its student newspaper, the Western Courier, was suspended from his position last week by the administration, and is being brought up on charges of violating the Code of Student Conduct because he recorded video of a riot on campus, and sold that video to news organizations around the country.

There are three major problems with the administration’s actions: 1) it’s a violation of the First Amendment; 2) it’s a violation of state law; and 3) it’s a violation of WIU policies.

Let’s begin with the Constitutional problem: There is little doubt that WIU’s action was retaliation against Stewart for his political speech. If Stewart had sold a story that made WIU look good, does anyone think that the administration would be cracking down on him?

Second, this punishment is illegal. Under the Illinois College Campus Press Act

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