During the 2008-2009 school year, The Liberty, a conservative-leaning student newspaper at Oregon State University, noticed that its distribution racks were vanishing from campus. Police determined that that it was the university that was the culprit. Oregon State officials explained that they were simply enforcing a policy that restricts where newspaper bins could be placed and they were simply trying to keep the campus clean. But editors at The Liberty complained that they were a student newspaper and should be granted the same privileges as Oregon State's mainstream student newspaper, The Daily Barometer.
The dispute ended up in court and a U.S. District Court Judge dismissed the suit against the university. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the suit should move forward. The whole matter ended up in the laps of the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled Oct. 7 that it shouldn't intervene and that the lawsuit should revive in the court of the U.S. District Court judge.
"It's the principle that matters," Heather Hackler, attorney for the newspaper told the Associated Press. "It also sends a message to public universities that they need to respect the rights of their students and the college campus needs to be a marketplace of ideas."