EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – Oregon State University declared a conservative student paper an “off campus publication” and singled it out for restricted distribution, the editor claims in Federal Court. Will Rogers, editor of The Liberty and president of the co-plaintiff Student Alliance, says university officials “surreptitiously confiscated the few distribution bins belonging to The Liberty, and threw them in a heap in a storage yard near a Dumpster.”
After “being found out” as the culprits in the distribution bin caper, school officials banned The Liberty from being distributed anywhere except outside the student union, Rogers says.
He says Oregon State University officials grant unrestricted distribution of the Daily Barometer, a campus newspaper OSU students have published for 100 years.
Rogers says The Liberty was established “to provide a medium for students to express conservative, libertarian, and independent thought and provide news coverage that was different than that contained in The Daily Barometer, the daily student newspaper.”
He says top administrators at OSU “arbitrarily classified” The Liberty as an off-campus paper, though the paper is run entirely by student volunteers, is published by a student organization and is distributed only on campus.
Rogers says school officials claim the two papers differ because The Liberty does not accept student fees and is run by volunteers. He says OSU refuses to explain what The Liberty must do to qualify as a student publication.
Rogers wants an injunction allowing him to distribute his newspaper freely on campus. He alleges violations of free speech, due process and equal protection.
Defendants include OSU President Ed Ray, Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark McCambridge, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Larry Roper, and Director of Facilities Services Vincent Martorello.Rogers’ lead attorney is Jonathan Clark, of Salem, Ore.