Despite the clear and unambiguous statements concerning the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press made in the First Amendment, some instances thereof need to be considered very closely to make the right choice. On the surface, the case of H.-L. vs. Kentucky University can be viewed as an obvious infringement of the freedom of the press. A detailed analysis of the case, however, shows that the freedom of the press implies infringement of the students’ rights for non-disclosure of their personal information. It is imperative, therefore, to permit the university to regain control over its data, including the students’ personal information so that no attempts at malicious actions toward any of the stakeholders involved should be made.
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Arguments Against the Restraining Order
In regard to the case of H.-L. vs. the Kentucky University, one must mention that the right to publish the information related to the students and the educational institution in question aligns with the principles of freedom of speech laid out in the First Amendment. As stated in the aforementioned legal document, the freedom of the press is also a substantive part of the given regulation. Therefore, due attention must be paid to it.
Filing a restraining order against H.-L. may send the message that the court condones silencing the media as an essential tool for promoting freedom of speech. The First Amendment states clearly that the identified party has the right to make information public and use it in the media (“First Amendment” par. 3).
Arguments in Favor of the Restraining Order
Publishing the personal data of the students, including their grades and scores, will make NCAA pay closer attention to the subject matter, with a high possibility of further sanctions. Coming on the heels of the case of the United States vs. the Progressive (1979) (“United States vs. the Progressive” par. 1), the specified problem implies that the tangible threat, which the students of the above institution will be exposed to, should be recognized as of higher priority than the possibility of the freedom of the press infringement.
Similarly, the court decision regarding the Kuhlmeier v. Hazelwood School District (1986) (Muse 1) needs to be addressed as a primary reason for preventing the article from being published. The case above has displayed the necessity to introduce censorship to the press once the threat to individuals’ personal safety is created.
Solution: Preventing a Greater Problem
Despite the fact that the right to print the information concerning the flaws of the university’s security system is, in fact, secured by the First Amendment as the manifestation of the Freedom of Speech principle, the threat that it exposes the students to should be viewed as the priority for the parties in question at present. The court recognizes the freedom of the press, which is granted by the First Amendment, yet the exposure to numerous threats that printing the article in question will cause requires that injunction should be granted.
As convincing as the appeal to the First Amendment made by the defendant is, the legal precedents mentioned above along with the mere use of common sense suggest that the lives of the members of the educational facility should not be threatened, hence the support of the petition to invoke a temporary injunction (Redish 17).
However, since the information concerning the poor condition of the current information system used in the Kentucky University is true to fact, the university staff is given two weeks to address the aforementioned information issues. The fact that, with the printing of the article, the communication channel created by the university became open to a range of offenders posting insulting messages and, more importantly, having the access to other students’ personal data, points to the need to address the security issue and revoke the permission for Kernel to publish the data related to the Kentucky university.
I hereby grant a permanent injunction to the H.-L. as far as printing the article is concerned. However, in the meantime, the university has to address the security issue so that the personal data of students should not be exposed to the public. By mentioning the details related to the students’ personal information, the press will jeopardize the safety of the stakeholders above and compromise the principles of the First Amendment, which also states that the rights to free speech should not come at the cost of other people’s safety and well-being (Finkelmann 1161). In other words, there are substantial reasons to revoke the permission granted to the Kernel agency to publish the information related to the students’ transcripts and scores as well as the data concerning the university’s message board and the related issues.
Dean of Students and Ace Printing
The Dean of Students, in its turn, will have to accept the right for the university and its students to retain private information and prevent strangers from using it to their advantage. The court, therefore, does not imply that the press should concede its right for the freedom of speech; instead, the representatives of the press should be empowered to comply with the principles of the First Amendment, at the same time respecting the right of the university to maintain the students’ records private and only available to the stakeholders in question (Lewis 169).
Due to the specifics of its wording, the First Amendment allows for a range of interpretations, often causing a conflict of interests that can only be resolved in court. The issue that the Kentucky University has faced is a graphic example of the wrongful interpretation of the principles promoted by the First Amendment and the deplorable consequences that may ensue. Because of the choice to consider printing the article written by the representative of the local press as the manifestation of the freedom of speech principles heralded in the First Amendment, the students of the Kentucky University became exposed to the threat of their personal data being stolen and their educational process being compromised. Therefore, the appeal of the plaintiff has to be considered as a chance to do justice and reinforce the security of the specified data.
The decision passed by the court addresses not only the issues created by the Kernel organization and the article that it printed but also the current strategy that the university adopts to maintain the students’ information safe. Despite the fact that the Kernel agency broke the law by exposing the learners to the threats of their data being stolen and their communication process being disrupted, the lack of consistency in the university’s policy toward the data safety also needs to be addressed. Therefore, it is only reasonable to suggest that the organization should also reconsider its current approach to managing information and introduce new tools for making the communication process safer.
Finkelmann, Paul. The Supreme Court: Controversies, Cases, and Characters from John Jay to John Roberts [4 Volumes]: Controversies, Cases, and Characters from John Jay to John Roberts. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014. Print.
First Amendment n. d.
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Lewis, Anthony. Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2013. Print.
Muse, Edward. “Kuhlmeier v. Hazelwood School District: The First Amendment Rights of Public High School Students.” Arkon Law Review 22.2 (1989): 251-260.
Redish, Martin. The Adversary First Amendment: Free Expression and the Foundations of American Democracy. Stamford, CT: Stamford University Press, 2013. Print.