Posted by Jennifer Sanow ('09)
Dear Professor LeBlanc,
I am writing to you regarding your campus notice about the "Speaking Freely" website. I visited it and was truly impressed by the thoughtfulness and quality of the discussion and I was glad to see that both students and faculty were involved. I wanted to suggest that you consider including the Student Press Law Center (http://www.splc.org/default.asp) under Resources. It's an excellent guide on how to conduct journalistic practices with integrity and provides a thorough definition of terms like slander and libel, which I have been hearing thrown around with almost reckless abandon.
The website also addresses one angle that I haven't seen discussed...whether or not private institutions like Washington and Lee are required to guarantee free speech. Freedom of speech is constitutionally mandated in the public realm, but not in the private, which includes private schools. This is absolutely not meant to support censorship. I just found it interesting that the Trident claimed sanctuary under the first amendment, among other things, even though it
doesn't apply to them because they are sponserd by W&L. The Trident claims to be an independent paper, but as long as it takes advantage of campus office space, computers, and the university symbol, it is under at least nominal university authority.
Washington and Lee Spectator