State University of New York at Brockport: Speech Code Litigation

Category: Free Speech
Schools: State University of New York – Brockport

As part of its ongoing Speech Code Litigation project, FIRE supported a lawsuit against State University of New York at Brockport. The suit, which was settled in May of 2005, required the school to repeal its unconstitutional policies and publicize the changes in policy through official channels such as the newspaper and college handbooks. Representing the fourth victory for FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation, the settlement was part of an ongoing process to combat speech codes throughout the country.

  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    By Greg Lukianoff in The Boston Globe As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at colleges from New York to California, the Department of Education finally clarified that “harassment” does not mean just being offended, and Texas Tech University had to admit that its lone 20-foot-wide “free speech gazebo” was inadequate space for […]

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  • 10 great cigars and why I smoked them

    June 13, 2005

    By Mike Adams at Townhall.com For years, communism has been preventing me from enjoying a lot of good cigars. That used to bother me, until I found a way around the problem. As many of my readers know, there are more communists teaching on the average American campus than there are teaching in all of Cuba. And, of course, these communist professors do a lot of stupid things, most of which violate the United States Constitution. I have learned that fighting American communist professors is fun, largely because they are so easy to beat when challenged. That’s why I smoke […]

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  • FIRE Chalks Up Another Victory for Students’ Free-Speech Rights

    May 16, 2005

    The State University of New York at Brockport has agreed to repeal its speech code. It is the fourth consecutive victory for a Philadelphia-based group in its campaign against such codes on America’s public college and university campuses. Last June, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), two students in the College Republican Club filed a federal lawsuit alleging that SUNY Brockport’s anti-harassment policies violated their free-speech rights. Under Brockport’s speech code, examples of harassment included “cartoons that depict religious figures in compromising situations,” calling someone an “old bag,” and “jokes … making fun of any […]

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  • SUNY’s Thought-Police

    July 11, 2004

    State University of New York Chancellor Robert King has a major scandal on his hands at upstate SUNY-Brockport: The campus thoughtcops have repealed the First Amendment. King needs to reinstate it—fast. Freshman Robert Wojich and senior Patricia Simpson have sued in federal court, claiming the school’s racial- and sexual-harassment codes unconstitutionally restrict free speech. In the name of battling “harassment,” SUNY-Brockport takes aim at such actions as name-calling, “discussing sexual activities”—gee, did the ’60s free-sex crowd become Victorians when they grew up?—insulting cartoons and, yes, “ethnic jokes.” Violators of such “offenses” are “subject to the campus judicial system.” Big Brother […]

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  • How SUNY Brockport smothers free speech

    July 9, 2004

    I doubt that any administrators or professors at SUNY Brockport are conspiring to do away with the First Amendment. But it is easy to believe that Brockport is run by some well-meaning people who have lost track of what freedom of speech really means. Last month two students in the college Republican Club filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Brockport’s web of anti-harassment regulations and other official statements designed to promote “diversity ” on campus amount to unconstitutional infringement of their right to freedom of speech. The students enlisted the help of an organization called the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Academic Freedom Advocates Sue Over SUNY Speech Code

    June 14, 2004

    Two conservative students are suing the State University of New York (SUNY) at Brockport over its speech code, which they say is unconstitutional. The lawsuit is the fourth in a campaign by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to rid campuses of policies that violate students’ First Amendment rights. Under SUNY-Brockport’s speech code, examples of harassment include “cartoons that depict religious figures in compromising situations,” calling someone an “old bag,” and “jokes … making fun of any protected group.” Fearing punishment under the arbitrarily restrictive code, the Brockport College Republicans were recently forced to end distribution of a […]

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  • N.Y. College Settles Lawsuit with Students Who Challenged Campus Speech Codes

    June 22, 2005

    Officials at SUNY Brockport College have settled a lawsuit over its regulations of speech on campus and have agreed to eliminate many of those restrictions and run notices in the college newspaper letting students know about the changes. The lawsuit was brought in a federal district court in Buffalo in June 2004 by two SUNY Brockport students who claimed their First Amendment rights were violated by college policies that regulated speech on campus. Those policies, including the colleges “better community standard” limited what students could say on campus, including making jokes that could be construed as offensive to others or […]

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  • In a New York Minute

    May 12, 2005

    College loosens policies on offensive speech Political correctness has taken a hit at State University College at Brockport, a story in The Buffalo News suggests. The college has settled a lawsuit charging that students’ free-speech rights were stifled by its harassment and speech code policies. As part of the settlement, the college removed from its harassment policy bans on discussing sexual activities and on making fun of certain groups. The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo after several months of negotiations between the state and the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. “Nobody can […]

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  • College settles case, will revise its speech code

    May 11, 2005

    BROCKPORT — The State University College at Brockport will modify its campus speech codes to settle a lawsuit claiming that students’ free-speech rights were being quashed. The settlement was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Buffalo after several months of negotiations between the state and the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. The original lawsuit was filed in June 2004. While the college admits no wrongdoing in the settlement, it does agree to a number of language changes in its policies. For example, it will remove such examples of prohibited behavior from its harassment policy […]

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  • Another FIRE Victory Over Speech Codes: SUNY Brockport Settles Suit in Favor of Free Speech

    May 10, 2005

    BUFFALO, N.Y., May 10, 2005—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has won yet another remarkable victory over campus censorship and repression. Last week, the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) settled a lawsuit brought by FIRE Legal Network attorneys and agreed to repeal its unconstitutional speech code. The settlement marks the fourth victory for FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project and requires SUNY Brockport to modify several college policies to make them consistent with the First Amendment. SUNY Brockport must also place notices of the changes on the Internet, in college offices, in college publications, and […]

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  • Liberating America’s Intellectual Gulags

    April 15, 2005

    David French knows what intimidation is.French, the new President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, graduated from Harvard Law School in the early 1990s. One might say that anyone with similar credentials ought to know the definition of intimidation – but French’s experience is a bit more personal than that.“As a pro-life, Christian conservative, I received death threats in my campus mailbox, was shouted down by students and (once) was even shouted down in class by my own professor,” he says about his years in Cambridge. French now spends much of his time explaining to university general counsels […]

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  • Breaking the Silence

    September 29, 2004

    Editor’s note: Last month, we ran an article entitled, “Backlash 101,” by GNN contributor Joshua Holland, editor of USC’s progressive paper, The Trojan Horse. Holland argued that heavily-funded conservative groups were taking advantage of an anti-political correctness backlash to make political gains among impressionable college students across the country. Not everyone agreed with Holland’s analysis. Minnie Quach, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group mentioned by Holland as having ties to powerful conservatives, contacted us with an alternative view. Here Quach argues that Holland painted a much too simplistic picture of the political […]

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