The student judiciary of Baylor University—a private, Christian university in Texas—has issued a no-contact order to student-reporters who work for Baylor's campus newspaper. The draconian order prohibits the staff of The Baylor Lariat from asking questions about a student-government scandal. Chancellor Palpatine, I'm told, would be pleased.
Two Baylor student-senators, likely drunk on power, have filed a pretend lawsuit against the president of the senate for "failing to uphold her duties as president of the Student Senate." Sounds very lawsuit-worthy. Keep in mind, this is a make-believe government (the best kind!). The kiddy judicial board will hear the lawsuit; in the meantime, the very self-important justices have issued a no-contact order that bars reporters from asking them any questions about the lawsuit, according to the Student Press Law Center.
In grown-up world, that's not how it works, obviously. Court participants can be barred from discussing a case with outside parties, but members of the media are always within their rights to seek such information. Lariat news editor Jonathan S. Platt understands that:
The Lariat got served a gag order Thursday. Upon seeing it, I was at a complete loss for words.
Section two of our newfound gift says, "No member of the press shall make intentional contact with any member of the Court regarding the case aforementioned …"
This court-ordered suspension bars the Lariat from contacting members of Baylor's student court, except in "procedural" and "substantive" matters, while McCahill, Hardy v. Kinghorn is being heard.
Simply put: This newspaper – a protected free press – is attempting to be silenced by a court – a protector of the law. See the infuriating irony?
Again, I'm stunned at this court's audacity. In fact, I'm furious.
The legal side of this is complicated only by the fact that Baylor is a private university, and may be entitled to set up evil student governments with silly rules. Still, it's a bad lesson in government-media ethics.
Or maybe it's a great lessons? Prepare the young journalists for a lifetime of fighting the good fight against government censors, I say.
Edit: Fixed spelling on The Daily Lariat.
Hat tip: The College Fix