The University of Virginia's student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, continued to publish yesterday despite eviction from its campus headquarters for refusing to recognize the authority of a Media Board established to oversee student publications and radio stations.
About 12000 copies of the paper were distributed on the Charlottesville, Va., campus after 40 members of The Cavalier Daily staff used facilities of The Charlottesville Daily Progress to publish it.
The Cavalier Daily's editors claimed supported yesterday from the American Civil Liberties Union, several lawyers and graduates from around the country. They said some students have planned demonstrations and have called for a boycott of classes.
The also said they may go to court seeking an order restoring the publication to its campus office.
William L. Zimmer, chairman of the University's Board of Visitors, said: "If they can publish a private newspaper, that's their prerogative."
It was the Board of Visitors that created the Media Board three years ago and which instructed University President Frank Hereford on Tuesday to deprive the paper of its campus offices and other facilities.
The Media Board, composed of 13 students, has authority to remove editorial staff members as well as require the paper to publish corrections, retracitons and letters to the editor. The editors view that power as a form of censorship.
Zimmer said yesterday that "there wasn't any intention at all to control the media. It was intended as proper supervision."
That supervision, according to Zimmer, required "The Cavalier Daily to "correct errors and abide by a code of Journalistic ethics." The student-run newspaper has been "somewhat of an irritant in refusing to recognize the authority of the University," Zimmer said.
Yesterday, The Cavalier Dailyhs editorial board met with legal authorities to explore their options.
"We told The Cavalier Daily that we would be willing to assist," said Chan Kendrick, director of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU in Richmond.
Deputy ACLU chapter director Stephen Retherford said, "There is a first amendment issue, but it's not clear cut. It the Media Board was set up to harass or intimidate the editorial staff, there may be a first amendment issue. And if so, we're very interested in getting involved."
The Washington law firm of Rogovin, Stern and Huge (headed by University of Virginia graduate Mitchell Rogovin) offered legal assistance to the student-run newspaper.
Attorney Mike Simpson of the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington also has gotten involved. Simpson called the Cavalier Daily 'one of the best [student] newspapers in the country.
"The question of how fully a university can control a student newspaper has not been litigated," Simpson said. "This could be a test case."
According to the editors, it is unclear whether the university had authority to breach the paper's contract, which provides for use of office space and equipment and guarantees tax-exempt status as a university-sponsored student organization until June 30.
Kerry Sipe, his managing editor of the Charlottesville Daily Progress, said his newspaper's arrangement with The Cavalier Daily is "is on a day-to-day basis.
"We're glad to help," said Sipe. "If anyone ever tried to shut us down, we would hope that someone would do the same for us."
The Daily Progress is supplying materials to The Cavalier Daily at cost.