Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Garner K. Weng


In this article, Mr. Weng discusses the growing problem of regulation and suppression by academic institutions of offensive or political communications transmitted by students over the Internet. The article explores the traditional powers of schools to regulate student communication and attempts to define what types of regulations are legally permissible. The article also examines the cases which do not fall into this traditional category, which are subject to a standard First Amendment analysis, and argues that the fact that this conduct involves Internet communications does not require a different standard than is used for other forms of media communication. Mr. Weng also looks at how First Amendment doctrines such as "public forum" might apply in the context of Internet communications. Finally, Mr. Weng attempts to define a workable and relevant legal standard for these cases from the existing law and scholarship, and posits that some of the restrictions currently imposed by schools upon students would be "unjustified and illegal" under the proper First Amendment standards.