Law school dean apologizes for sending article to Supreme Court for approval

The Washington Post | The Oregonian | The Pioneer Log

Before he allowed Lewis & Clark Law School's newspaper to publish an article about Chief Justice John Roberts' visit to the school, Dean Robert Klonoff submitted it to the Supreme Court with "a note that said 'Please let me know if it meets with your approval,'" Robert Barnes reports.

The request -- unnecessary, Barnes writes -- caused The Pioneer Log to go to press without the story.

Klonoff apologized, telling Oregonian reporter Scott Learn he thought a court request to approve other materials relating to the visit applied to the newspaper as well.

"A justice’s visit is especially prestigious for a law school," Barnes writes, "and deference is often extended even when not sought."

"I understand the desire of the law school to appease the chief justice because it's a big feather in their cap," Adam Goldstein of the Student Press Law Center told Learn. "But the law does not recognize a metaphysical state of, 'it (the press) is usually free, most of the time.'"

Zibby Pillote and Anthony Ruiz, the Pioneer Log's editor-in-chief and sports editor, respectively, note in a piece about the fracas that the paper doesn't have a "dedicated faculty advisor" this semester, and that of all the classes in the Rhetoric and Media Studies Department, "none are explicitly related to journalism. This means that there are no dedicated classes on journalistic law or writing practices at LC."

Several editors and writers at The Pioneer Log have stressed the importance of an academic experience for writers and editors, and have expressed disappointment in the lack of academic support offered by the College. It is the position of The Pioneer Log that LC should invest in the journalistic education of its students in order to prevent future “misunderstandings” as well as demonstrate a continued support of free student press.

Related: University of Pittsburgh student government clamps down on press access after unflattering stories (SPLC)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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