First Amendment Advocate Passes Away at 70
The McLellan mourns the loss of free speech advocate, Jane Briggs-Bunting
First Amendment advocates were saddened to learn of the death of Jane Briggs-Bunting: a free speech advocate, college professor, and respected journalist. Briggs-Bunting began her career in the early 1970s at the Detroit Free Press before she earned her law degree from then-Detroit College of Law. Even after Briggs-Bunting earned her law degree, she continued to report for the Detroit Free Press until she left the publication in 1978 to teach journalism at Oakland University. Throughout her years at Oakland, Briggs-Bunting advised hundreds of future journalists who went on to work at some of the country’s most famous publications, including the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, and Bloomberg News. Briggs-Bunting left Oakland in 2003 to take over the journalism program at Michigan State University. In this role, Briggs-Bunting learned of the free speech and censorship struggles faced by high school journalists and journalism teachers. She teamed up with Professor Nancy Costello of MSU College of Law, and in 2010, they created the Michigan State University College of Law First Amendment Clinic: the only law school clinic in the country that focuses solely on student speech and press rights. Some years later, The McLellan Online Free Speech Library was launched by the MSU Law First Amendment Clinic. Briggs-Bunting’s guidance helped inspire the creation of The McLellan, giving us the privilege of helping high school journalists across the United States. Briggs-Bunting will be remembered for her zealous advocacy and defending of free speech throughout her career.