Oregon State puts newspaper boxes in a field, owes $101,000 for it

Student Press Law Center

Oregon State University will pay $100,000 in legal fees and $1,000 to the former editor of The Liberty, Student Press Law Center reported Thursday.

Oregon State admitted no fault in the agreement, and the lawsuit was officially dismissed Wednesday. As part of the settlement, they will pay $1,000 to the newspaper’s former editor and $100,000 in legal fees to the organization that represented him.

The Liberty was an alternative student voice on campus, according to the original complaint, with “conservative, libertarian” leanings. In 2009, all seven of the publication’s green distribution bins disappeared. Further investigation into the matter revealed that university officials had confiscated the bins and placed them in a “trash heap,” the complaint said.

The group Alliance Defending Freedom represented former Liberty Editor William Rogers.

According to SPLC, The Liberty's green newspaper boxes went missing in 2009, while those of the school's newspaper remained in place.

OSU spokesman Steve Clark said “universities are all about free speech,” and “we’re disappointed the newspaper boxes were placed in a field.” This was not meant to be a discriminatory action against The Liberty, he said.

In September 2012, Poynter reported that newspaper boxes had trouble finding a home at the University of Texas at Austin's journalism school. They've had an opus written about them, and newspaper boxes also have their own Tumblr with Boxes of Blight. Makes that field look pretty nice, actually.



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