Censorship U.

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You always knew college was different from high school, and not just because you can stay up as late as you want and live on nothing but Cheetos and Sprite. Now a federal appeals court has realized it as well, ruling that laws allowing censorship in high schools can’t be applied at the university level after all.

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A press release from the STUDENT LAW CENTER reports that the distinction wasn’t so clear to Kentucky State University officials when they decided they didn’t like the contents of the 1992-1994 yearbook. Apparently forgetting that college students are largely over 18 and therefore adults, school officials confiscated all copies of the yearbook and locked them in a warehouse, where they sat for the next six years.

The decision was reached by a zigzag path. In 1999 the same court supported censorship of the KSU student newspaper in a related case, then threw out its own ruling and reheard the case. The final decision comes down squarely on the side of the First Amendment, ruling that a public university can engage in neither censorship nor the confiscation of college yearbooks — the latter an act one judge described as “amongst the purest forms of content alteration.”

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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