Conservative Oregon State University Student Newspaper Loses Court Case

The Liberty doesn’t fit under the same rules as the sanctioned campus newspaper at OSU, judge says.

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The Liberty is a conservative, student-run publication at Oregon State University. Because it is not distributed as widely as the sanctioned student newspaper, the Daily Barometer, editors at the Liberty complained to school officials that it was being treated unfairly. The case ended up in court.

A judge dismissed all claims against the university brought by Liberty Executive Editor William Rogers and the OSU Student Alliance, the Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times reports (hat tip to College Media Matters). The decision is based on the Daily Barometer's place in the OSU community as the student newspaper, which means it is granted an exemption from the school's informal distribution policy, according to reports.

The case received national attention for its juicy plot: a large, public university against a small, conservative publication.

"The opinion made it really clear that there was no basis" for a discrimination complaint, Todd Simmons, director of news and communications at Oregon State, tells the Gazette-Times. "I think they wanted a ruling, in my opinion, that the Liberty needs to be treated exactly like the Barometer."

If that was the case, the Liberty didn't get the ruling it wanted. As the Liberty's new editor, Whitney Hopple, put it, the student publication will move on and keep fighting the news fight against the Daily Barometer.

"It's really time to move forward," Hopple tells the Gazette-Times. "As for me, I really (want) to put the lawsuit behind us."

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