Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 26, 1998

ISU, Tribune publishers settle suit

by Steve Sullivan

Iowa State and Partnership Press filed a settlement June 15 in the lawsuit brought by Partnership Press against the university. The lawsuit will not go to trial on Aug. 11, but the settlement is subject to approval by U.S. District Court Judge Harold Vietor in Des Moines. No monetary damages are provided in the settlement.

"Iowa State is pleased with the settlement agreement. It is a reasonable alternative to continuing litigation," said Warren Madden, vice president for business and finance.

"This settlement preserves the university's position that there is a difference between university-related and nonuniversity publications. Our policy on distribution of periodicals has allowed a greater number of distribution sites for publications related to the university. Student publications will continue to have a special role and place on the campus," Madden said.

Iowa State asserted a constitutional right to distinguish between university-related and nonuniversity publications as part of its self-governance.

According to the settlement, the university has agreed to increase the number of distribution locations for both university-related and nonuniversity publications. Most of the additional sites are inside buildings.

Madden said Iowa State officials also are "pleased that the settlement preserves our long-standing position that the Iowa State Daily, a student newspaper, serves a special role at Iowa State in its training for journalism and related occupations and as a source of information for the university community."

In recent years, the number of publications and advertising supplements distributed on campus has increased, creating cleanup, aesthetic and safety concerns. In his 1997 ruling, Judge Vietor ruled against the university's cleanup fee and the requirement that publications need approval prior to distribution on campus.

In the settlement, Partnership Press agrees to remove from distribution boxes all out-of-date copies and bundling materials.

The settlement also provides that Iowa State will pay a portion of attorneys' fees and costs incurred by Partnership Press. The amount will be determined by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross Walters.

The parties also agreed to try to resolve separate claims of Partnership Press that the activities of the university and the Iowa State Daily unfairly compete with its Partnership Press publications. A study will be conducted of the role of the Iowa State Daily at the university.

A separate lawsuit filed against the Iowa State Daily by Partnership Press is pending before the Iowa Supreme Court. Both sides appealed after a district court judge ruled that some records of the Iowa State Daily must be disclosed under Iowa's open records law, but those dealing with business strategy and personnel matters do not.

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