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Appeals court rules for U of M in case over 'unreliable websites'

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: May 4, 2012 - 11:06 AM

The Eighth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday in favor of the University of Minnesota in a case over a university center posting a list of "unreliable websites."

The university is hailing the legal victory as a win for academic freedom.

The Turkish Coalition of America had sued the university in 2010, claiming that the U's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies violated the group's First Amendment rights by "blacklisting" its website because of its pro-Turkish viewpoint on the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

This week, the appeals court agreed with the district court in dismissing the Turkish group's claims.

The appeals court rejected the Turkish Coalition of America's comparison to other cases in which school boards removed books from libraries. "Here, in contrast, 'the spectrum of available knowledge' for students at the university was unaffected," the ruling said. "There is no allegation that the defendants impaired students' access to the TCA website on a university-provided internet system."

It also found that the group's defamation claims failed.

In a statement, the U's general counsel Mark Rotenberg said the decision "confirms the right of universities and their faculty to offer scholarly criticism and critique on websites without fear of legal exposure."

Read the full decision here:



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