Warren Madden, Business and Finance, (515) 294-6162
Paul Tanaka, University Legal Services, (515) 294-5352
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137
ISU AND PARTNERSHIP PRESS REACH SETTLEMENT
AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University and Partnership Press today will file a settlement in the lawsuit brought by Partnership Press against the university. Because of the settlement, the lawsuit will not go to trial on Aug. 11. No monetary damages are provided in the settlement. The settlement is subject to approval by U.S. District Court Judge Harold Vietor in Des Moines.
"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.
Specifically, the lawsuit challenged that policy, which distinguishes between university-related and nonuniversity publications in determining distribution locations on campus. Iowa State asserted its constitutional right to make such a distinction as part of its right of self-governance.
According to the settlement, the university has agreed to increase the number of distribution locations for both university-related and all nonuniversity publications. Most of the additional sites are inside buildings. Partnership Press, owner of The Tribune, has agreed to remove news racks that Iowa State did not authorize.
In ruling on Partnership Press's pre-trial motions in December 1997, Judge Vietor indicated that Iowa State's argument that the university could distinguish between university-related and nonuniversity publications in determining distribution sites would likely prevail if the case went to trial.
"I find that such a distinction is not only reasonable, but the most reasonable distinction to make in light of the purposes served by the buildings at issue," Judge Vietor said.
Madden said Iowa State also "is 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 the Iowa State campus has increased, creating cleanup, esthetic 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 deal with the cleanup concern by removing from distribution boxes all unused, 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 have 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. The parties in the settlement further agree that a study will be conducted of the role of the Iowa State Daily at the university.
Note to News Media: 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 last year that some records of the Iowa State Daily are subject to disclosure under Iowa's open records law, but those dealing with personnel matters and business strategy do not have to be disclosed.
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