California is set to become the first state to prohibit censorship of college student newspapers by school administrators. On a bipartisan 31-2 vote, the State Senate today (Aug. 10) approved legislation authored by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (pictured) to protect freedom of speech and press for college and university newspapers, according to a statement from Yee’s office. AB 2581 now heads to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will have up to 12 days to sign or veto the bill.
Earlier this year, U.S. Seventh Circuit Court ruled that a college administrator could require student editors of a state university’s newspaper to submit articles for prior review before the newspaper would be sent to the printer for publication.
Ironically, a California law written in 1992 provided censorship protection for high school publications, according to Yee’s office. AB 2581 would ensure such free speech protections for college publications, specifically prohibiting censorship of student newspapers at any UC, CSU, or community college, the statement from Yee’s office said. The bill would also prohibit any college, university or community college officials from disciplining a student who engages in speech or press activities, according to Yee.