Speech and Expression Policy
Limestone University students have the right to speak and publish without fear of censorship. However, such speech or publication should not interrupt the normal operation of the University, and also should fall within the law against slander and libel. It is the responsibility of the student editors and faculty sponsors to practice in both writing and editing the ethics of responsible journalism as set forth by the profession itself.
Statement concerning libel: Limestone University is the publisher of all student publications, and, as such, the advisor of the publication has the right to approve such publications before going to press. The University has no interest in censoring student speech in publications; however, the University is concerned that no libelous statements be published. “Libel” can be defined as any written or published statement which tends to degrade or asperse character or reputation; this can include photographs or cartoons.
A statement can be libelous even if a person or persons are not mentioned by name, but their identities can be inferred through circumstances mentioned in the writing, and even if the originator of the statement did not intend to harm the person libeled (although in court the plaintiff bears the burden of proving malicious intent).
An action for libel can extend to anyone concerned with its publication, whether he is author, printer, or publisher.
The University wishes that all persons participating in the various student publications, including the faculty sponsors, be aware of this definition of libel and of its legal implications.
If a student editor wishes to appeal the advisor’s decision, a committee consisting of the Student Activities Director, the advisor, and the student editor will meet to discuss the decision. If further action is deemed necessary, the President of the University will exercise publisher’s rights and decide if Limestone University will publish the material in question.
Statement concerning factual accuracy of reporting: It is the first duty of good journalists to check out their published material for factual accuracy. In such cases where they are relying upon hearsay or rumor, their statements should clearly indicate this.