State University of New York College at Oswego: Student Suspended for Emails to Hockey Coaches

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

In October 2012, exchange student Alexander Myers was suspended and ordered to vacate his campus residence after emails he sent were alleged to “defame, harass, intimidate, or threaten another individual or group.” Myers had contacted three area hockey coaches as research for a class assignment he was writing on SUNY Oswego men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek, explaining that  ”what you say about Mr Gosek does not have to be positive.” The next day, Myers received a letter from President Deborah F. Stanley, which placed him on interim suspension and charged with “disruptive behavior,” on the grounds that SUNY Oswego policy prohibited emails that “defame, harass, intimidate, or threaten another individual or group.” FIRE wrote to Stanley on October 26, 2012, arguing that the charges were blatantly unconstitutional. In response, SUNY dropped the “disruptive behavior” charge, though it found him guilty of “dishonesty” and ordered him to write apology letters to the hockey coaches.

  • SUNY Oswego named worst college for free speech in 2013

    December 24, 2013

    by Geoff Herbert For the third year in a row, a Central New York school has been named one of the worst colleges for free speech. Syracuse University topped 2011′s list, created by Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), after an SU College of Law student was charged with harassment and issued a gag order over a satirical blog called SUCOLitis. In 2012, SU ranked second worst after a School of Education graduate student was nearly expelled for using Facebook to criticize a community activist’s racial comment. This year, SUNY Oswego has been named the worst college in the country for […]

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    Oswego, NY — SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley told the student newspaper that she is saddened by the national publicity the college has received after she ordered a student suspended because of an e-mail he sent for a class assignment. “I feel heart sick over the fact that the institution is being viewed this way and that any individual would have suffered, on all sides,” Stanley was quoted as saying in The Oswegonian. “I do know that none of this was about speech.” The case of Alexander Myers, an exchange student from Australia, has been featured on web sites and newspapers […]

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  • College Journalism Student Suspended For Attempting to Conduct An Assigned Interview

    November 15, 2012

    An incredibly contentious debate has slipped under the radar in recent years over students First Amendment rights on the college and university campus. A SUNY Oswego student is in the news after he was suspended for sending emails while attempting to conduct interviews for a class assignment. The student, Alex Myers, is an exchange student from Australia. He was recently given an assignment to write a feature article on a public figure for his advanced-level course in SUNY Oswego’s journalism department. Alex chose the men’s hockey coach, Ed Gosek, for his subject and sent an email to rival coaches coaches at Cornell University, Canisius College, […]

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  • Journalism Student Suspended for Offending Hockey Coaches

    November 14, 2012

    Like any journalism major worth his or her notepad, Alex Myers, an Australian exchange student studying at the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), was just trying to get a few good quotes. Writing a feature on SUNY Oswego men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek for a class assignment last month, Myers wanted to find out what other coaches thought about Gosek’s style on and off the ice. But thanks to a shocking overreaction from SUNY Oswego administrators, Myers found himself suspended – all for asking hockey coaches a few questions. If that sounds crazy to you, that’s because […]

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  • SUNY Oswego president issues statement on student disciplined over e-mail

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    SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley has issued a statement on the case of Alexander Myers, a journalism student disciplined over an e-mail he sent to college hockey coaches. Myers, a student from Australia, was originally charged by the college with “disruptive behavior” and ordered to leave his dorm room. He was reprimanded by a college judicial panel for misrepresenting himself in the e-mail and ordered to write letters of apology. Here is Stanley’s statement: “The principles of free speech and expression are fundamental to an open society. The building blocks of learning are based on the quest for information […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Journalism Student Threatened with Suspension Over Email to Hockey Coaches

    November 12, 2012

     Officials at SUNY Oswego recently threatened an international journalism studentwith suspension and campus banishment over emails he sent to hockey coaches while working on a class assignment. – The 30-second gist, according to Gawker and FIRE: Australian native Alex Myers currently studies journalism and works in the Office of Public Affairs at SUNY Oswego.  For a class assignment requiring “a feature on a public figure,” he selected the school’s hockey coach Ed Gosek.  As part of his info gathering legwork, he emailed the hockey coaches at Cornell University, Canisius College, and SUNY Cortland requesting their feedback on Gosek. – The email contained two faux […]

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    Syracuse, NY —— SUNY Oswego went overboard last month when it threatened to suspend a journalism student over an e-mail he sent to three college hockey coaches as part of a class assignment, says a national campus free speech group. “It was certainly a severe over-reaction,” said Peter Bonilla of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “It was just a no-brainer.” The incident began Oct. 17 when Alexander Myers, an international student from Australia, e-mailed the hockey coaches to ask about SUNY Oswego coach Ed Gosek, whom Myers was profiling for a journalism class. At the bottom of the e-mail Myers urged the […]

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  • University Suspends Journalism Student For Asking Questions For A Class Assignment

    November 10, 2012

    Alex Myers is an Australian exchange student currently studying journalism at SUNY Oswego, part of New York’s state university system. Last month he was given a class assignment to produce a profile on a public figure. He chose Oswego men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek and began in the standard manner: he reached out to Gosek’s colleagues in the sport. Here’s the email he sent to three coaches at other schools: My name is Alex Myers, I work for the Office of Public Affairs at SUNY Oswego.I am currently writing a profile on Oswego State Hockey head coach Ed Gosek and was […]

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  • Student journalist faced suspension for asking questions

    November 9, 2012

    A journalist student at State University of New York College at Oswego was threatened with suspension from the school for sending emails that asked questions for a writing project. Word of the situation that developed over the past few weeks for Alex Myers is described in a report on the website for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The report said Myers, an exchange student from Australia who worked as an intern in the school’s public affairs office, had an assignment to write a feature story for a class on a public figure and he picked the schools hockey coach, […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Paper to Student Body: ‘Test Free Speech on Campus’

    February 14, 2014

    FIRE supporters know that we’ve roundly criticized the State University of New York at Oswego’s troubled relationship with the First Amendment. Not only does SUNY Oswego earn a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database for its unconstitutional speech codes, but the university was responsible for one of the more shocking abuses of free speech we’ve seen in recent years. Of course, I’m referring to the suspension of student Alex Myers, who found himself ordered to leave campus after writing an email to a Cornell University hockey coach for a journalism class assignment. It’s a shocking story, and it earned […]

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  • Four Key Points About Free Speech and the Feds’ ‘Blueprint’

    July 15, 2013

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  • SUNY Oswego Victory Makes Media Splash

    November 20, 2012

    Earlier this month, FIRE exposed a shocking case at the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), where a student was suspended and ordered to vacate campus simply for writing emails.  Alexander Myers, an exchange student from Australia, contacted three hockey coaches from other institutions, as research for a class assignment he was writing about SUNY Oswego men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek. In his email, he wrote that “what you say about Mr Gosek does not have to be positive.” The next day, Myers received a letter from SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, which placed him […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Journalism Student Suspended for Emails to Hockey Coaches

    November 9, 2012

    As FIRE has copiously documented in recent years, universities around the country have shown a dangerous tendency to conflate protected speech with unprotected true threats. The latest case in point comes from the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), which leveled charges against a journalism student for writing a few short emails. Even with the low bar many other universities have set, SUNY Oswego’s shocking decision to pursue threat charges stands out.  The student at the center of the latest storm is Alex Myers, an exchange student from Australia who worked as an intern in SUNY […]

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