Papish V. Board Of Curator Case Study

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Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri (1973) was a case concerning a student’s indecent publication on a university campus and whether or not a student remains protected under the First Amendment. It was the first and the only case submitted to the Supreme Court concerning a university newspaper. Upon the newspaper’s publication, the student was expelled in the middle of the spring semester after the university did not approve of its content.
While the First Amendment does protect the right to freedom of speech, university officials have some authority in defining the limitations of freedom of speech and press on a campus setting. However, this mostly applies to private colleges, as students enrolled in public universities often receive protection under the First
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The court ruled in favor of the university of the basis, “based on the university’s defense that focused on the time and place of distributing the newspaper issue, the student’s being on academic probation, and the issue of indecent speech, the Eighth Circuit affirmed in its favor” ( ). The primary reason for the court ruling in favor of the university, however, was that they believed that the student’s freedom of expression could be limited if the publication was indecent and offensive to the university community.
The Supreme Court decided differently, however, “citing in a six-to-three judgment, in a relatively brief per curium opinion that was not signed by any of the members of the majority, the Supreme Court reversed in favor of the student”(). The court may have ruled in this manner during deliberations because the Eighth Circuit’s ruling came just before the Court’s judgment in Healy v. James (1972). This case stated that officials at public higher education institutions do not have the ability to enforce reasonable rules governing student

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