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Kincaid v. Gibson, 236 F.3d 342 (6th Cir. 2001)

In September 1999 a divided three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit ruled that no First Amendment violation resulted from a college administration's ban on the distribution of a student-created college yearbook based on its cover and contents. The majority ruled that the yearbook was not a public forum, and that the university had a right to approve its content before distributing it. In May 1998 AAUP submitted an amicus brief with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and the national Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), arguing that the administration's actions violated the students' First Amendment right to publish the yearbook, which was under student editorial control.

Status: In January 2001 the full Sixth Circuit ruled in a 10-3 decision that the University administration violated the First Amendment rights of the student editors. The court found the yearbook to be a limited public forum. The court found "[i]t . . . difficult to conceive of a forum whose nature is more compatible with expression" than the yearbook. The court ruled that "[t]he university's confiscation of the journal of expression was arbitrary and unreasonable," and "ranks with forced government speech as amongst the purest forms of content alteration." In doing so, the court reversed the September 1999 divided three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit, which had determined that the yearbook was not a public forum, and that the university had a right to approve its content before distributing it.