The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 26, 1999, Page 3, Image 3

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    Bill focuses on
censorship issues
By Brian Carlson
When Omaha Westside High
School administrators introduced drug
sniffing dogs onto the school’s parking
lot, the high school newspaper was on
the story.
But the high school journalists did
n’t get far, said Allison Conway, an edi
tor for the newspaper. At a hearing of
the Legislature’s Education Committee
Monday, she told lawmakers that
administrators barred the paper from
photographing the dogs.
Later, when the paper learned that a
student had been suspended for drug
use, administrators denied it - even after
the newspaper presented them with the
student’s name, Conway said.
“The student who wasn’t allowed to
attend class would have been surprised
to find out no one had been suspended,”
she said.
Conway and several other students
and high school newspaper advisers tes
tified in support of LB 182, known as
the Student Freedom of Expression Act.
It would increase students’ freedom of
expression in school publications.
In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled in Hazelwood School Districts v.
Kuhlmeier that the First Amendment
did not prohibit school officials from
exercising editorial control over student
publications, as long as the control was
related to an educational purpose.
That broad standard for editorial
control too often allows school adminis
trators to censor student articles not
because of poor journalism or libel, but
because they are controversial, said
John Bender, a University of Nebraska
Lincoln news-editorial professor.
“When an administrator is attempt
ing to censor an article or editorial that
is tempered, respectful, well-written
and well-researched, then something is
out of balance,” said Bender, who also
serves as executive director of the
Nebraska High School Press
LB 182, sponsored by Sen. Chris
Beutler of Lincoln, would allow only
sponsoring teachers to exercise editorial
control over student publications.
Material could be suppressed only
for being obscene, libelous or demon
strably likely to incite law-breaking or
disruptions at the school. It could not be
suppressed because of controversial
subject matter.
Doris Martin, newspaper adviser at
Beatrice High School, said administra
tors’ censorship had created an “envi
ronment that’s not conducive to teach
ing students about journalism and
“I firmly believe we can’t send stu
dents to government class and teach
them what a brilliant document the Bill
of Rights is,” she said, “and then have
them come to journalism class and say
that because an article is not positive, it
will not be printed.”
Sen. Kermit Brashear reminded
proponents that the Supreme Court had
already ruled the First Amendment did
not specifically grant students the free
doms contained in LB182.
But Matthew Beermann, editor of
Lincoln Southeast High School’s news
paper, noted that states have the power
to extend students’ rights of free expres
sion. School newspapers should not be
subject to censorship because they are
supported by taxpayer money, he said.
“It is wrong to say that simply
because it receives funding from the
government, a school newspaper
should be blindly uncritical of that gov
ernment,” he said.
Brian Hale of the Nebraska
Association of School Boards was the
lone person to testify against the bill.
He said school boards and adminis
trators, who allot funding for school
publications, should be able to control
the product. This is similar to the real
world, where publishers control what
appears in their publication, he said.
Education bills bring change
Senior staff writer
Members of Nebraska’s higher edu
cation community decided Monday
they weren’t going to sit around and
wait for state legislators to advance 21
bills and two constitutional amend
Instead, the Coordinating
Commission for Postsecondary
Education said it would take immediate
action on the legislation that would, if
passed, change the responsibilities and
structure of the commission, as well as
area state and community colleges.
“Our plan is to keep the commission
and its staff informed and updated on
legislation,” said Commission
Executive Director David Powers.
“When necessary, we will talk with
the higher education community and
with senators individually about the
Larry Scherer, the commission’s
policy analyst, presented a report detail
ing the Legislature’s higher education
bills and identified key bills that would
be of interest to the commission.
Commissioner Jane Hood ques
tioned whether any of the bills present
ed would be advanced to the floor, espe
cially LB631, sponsored by Speaker
Doug Kristensen of Minden.
LB631 would make Chadron State
and Wayne State colleges part of the
University of Nebraska system, as well
as turn Peru State College into a com
munity college.
" May 1999 Graduates
, Your Degree Application is Due
January 29,1999
Apply at 107 Canfield Admin. Bldg.
Hibler responds to harassment suit
... I'll even tone down my rhetoric on the
late-night Internet Mind Radio Shows about
having my followers file their own lawsuits”
David Hibler
former English professor
By Shane Anthony
' Staff writer
Former UNL Assistant Professor
David Hibler’s filing Friday in response
to a sexual harassment lawsuit against
him goes beyond denying charges.
In a 28-page affidavit to support his
motion, Hibler uses profanity, refers to
President Bill Clinton several times
and indicates he might sue the universi
ty if the lawsuit is not dismissed.
“So you have my word, Your
Honor. I won’t file my lawsuit. And I
promise I’ll even tone down my
rhetoric on the late-night Internet Mind
Radio Shows about having my follow
ers file their own lawsuits,” he said on
page 25 of the affidavit.
In the motion, Hibler said he has
never been served with a copy of the
complaint against him and is “ill
equipped” to answer.
Former UNL student Valerie
Giunca sued the NU Board of Regents
and Hibler in February alleging that
Hibler sexually harassed her during the
1996 fall semester.
Giunca’s attorney, Carole
McMahon-Boies, said U.S. District-*
Judge Richard G. Kopf had already
ruled Dec. 16 that the documents had
been signed for at UNL in February,
while Hibler was still an employee.
The university revoked Hibler’s
tenure and fired him June 20.
On Jan. 8, Kopf ordered that Hibler
must respond to Giunca’s motion for
summary judgment.
Kopf had already ruled Dec. 16 that
a previous motion from Hibler asking
to quash service or dismiss the suit
because of lack of personal jurisdiction
was untimely. Hibler’s current motion
asks for reconsideration of his previous
filing. It also offers a general denial “to
any and all matters of fact contained in
said complaint.”
Hibler, who has been representing
himself, said in the affidavit he has had
difficulty finding attorneys to repre
sent him. For that reason, he said, the
motion asks the court for 120 days to
find adequate legal representation.
McMahon-Boies said the court
normally requires a response within 20
days of the complaint being served on
the defendant. Hibler is entitled to addi
tional time to answer, she said, but his
requests are not timely.
She said Hibler has a right to
defend himself, but the court is not
likely to give him much more time.
Hibler’s language in the affidavit is
littered with profanity.
“In light of all the other shit I’ve
just laid on this Court, and I remind this
Court that I am still bound under oath
and I swear everything above to be the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth the way I see it” the affidavit
said. “Whether you personally like it
doesn’t mean shit to a tree.”
On page 19, he referred to Giunca
as “what some people might call a ‘lit
tle, lying bitch’ but which yours truly,
Defendant Hibler, rather chooses to
call a ‘woman of proven selective
memory and medically documented
mental instability.’”
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