Court weigh in on CD case

The Virginia Supreme Court delivered an opinion Friday which presents an additional hurdle to The Cavalier Daily and Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times in their legal battle to gain the right to publish advertisements which reference alcohol.

The court ruled that, even if the majority of the newspaper's readership is 21 or older, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's regulations can still include college newspapers if the intention of the newspaper is to distribute to people under 21, said Rebecca Glenberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who represents the newspapers.

At issue is the definition of a "college newspaper," which the board defines as "any college or university publication that is prepared, edited or published primarily by students at such institution ... and which is distributed or intended to be distributed primarily to persons under 21 years of age."

The board's current regulations do not allow college newspapers to print advertisements that refer to beer, wine and mixed drinks.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2006 on behalf of The Cavalier Daily and The Collegiate Times challenging these regulations, arguing that the student publications do not fall under the jurisdiction of the board's regulations because more than half of the publications' readers are 21 or older.

Neither The Cavalier Daily nor The Collegiate Times are collegiate publications and therefore cannot be regulated by the board, Glenberg said, though she acknowledged that it is ultimately a matter for a judge to decide. Glenberg added that she is not sure whether the two publications will win this case.

The case will return to federal court, where the judge may take evidence to assess the papers' intent or move on to determine whether the board's regulations are unconstitutional, Glbenberg said.

"Even if the Cavalier Daily and Collegiate Times are college publications, we will still be making the argument that the regulations are unconstitutional and are not enforceable," she said.

-complied by Callie Herod

related stories