I guess somebody finally figured out this was a bad idea.

Susan Kruth reports at the FIRE blog.

After Outcry, Buffalo State Student Government Quickly Reverses Freeze of Newspaper’s Funding

Wednesday was April Fool’s Day, and college newspapers across the country aimed to bring some humor to their articles this week. However, not all students found their college newspapers’ holiday issues funny. The United Students Government (USG) at the State University of New York – Buffalo State College, responding to complaints about satirical articles in the student newspaper The Record, went as far as announcing a budget freeze for the paper before backpedaling amidst heavy criticism from students, alumni, and free speech advocates. This was a necessary change in plans, and FIRE hopes campus communities across the country take note: Universities and student governments tasked with distributing mandatory student activity fees may not cut funding for student publications based on their content.

According to The Record, USG’s Executive Vice President initially emailed the newspaper on Wednesday, alerting its staff that its “budget has been frozen.” What’s more, the student government informed The Record that all copies of the April Fool’s Day issue, titled The Wreckard, had to be “removed from campus” by Thursday at 5:00 p.m. The Vice President explained this decision by writing, “It has come to our attention from many students and faculty members that some of the topics discussed in the ‘Wreckard’ satire addition [sic] were offensive to members of Buffalo State and the surrounding community.”

As my colleague Sarah McLaughlin reminded readers yesterday, expression by students at public universities does not lose its First Amendment protection merely because it is controversial or deemed offensive. USG didn’t specify which articles were supposedly worthy of censorship. But FIRE sees nothing in the issue that falls into one of the few, narrowly defined categories of unprotected speech, like incitement to imminent lawless action and obscenity (or anything that comes even remotely close, for that matter).