In a New York Minute

By on 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 agree what civility is,” FIRE President David French told the News. “The idea (that) you can have a marketplace of ideas and enforce … some sort of civility regulation (is) unworkable in practice and ends up killing the exchange of ideas.”

Homelessness grows in Monroe County

Monroe County’s homeless population grew by 9 percent last year, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported.

The county’s annual report on homelessness found that 8,783 people were placed in shelters in 2004 – 692 more than in 2003.

The county report reflects only emergency housing placements made by its Department of Human Services. The biggest immediate cause for homelessness – accounting for 62 percent of the placements – was eviction by relatives or friends, the D&C reported.

“They were often asked to leave due to crowded conditions, substance abuse, domestic disputes, family breakup and strained relationships,” the report says.

It’s difficult to see stage in brand-new auditorium

There’s only one problem with the sparkling new $2million auditorium at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park.

It’s kind of hard to see the stage.

The Shenendehowa school board told its interim superintendent to investigate why the auditorium’s sightlines are so poor, the Albany Times Union reported.

A district employee told the board that she could not see well at a recent musical at the 1,200-seat facility, and people were “craning their necks” to see the stage.

“I don’t think there’s any question that there are some places where line of sight is not the best,” board President Gary DiLallo confirmed.

The district completed the auditorium last year as part of the high school’s new $23 million wing.

Silver sounds negative on Jets stadium plan

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has been on the fence regarding a new Jets stadium on Manhattan’s West Side, might be falling on to the side of the naysayers.

Despite Broadway Joe Namath’s appearance in the Capitol earlier this week to support the stadium, Silver is clearly not gung-ho, The New York Times reported.

When asked whether he believed, fundamentally, that a stadium would be a bad idea for Manhattan, Silver said yes.

“I’m just saying that at this point, that doesn’t make sense to me, yes,” he said. But he later softened that by saying that “the jury is still out” on the matter.

Both Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno will have to embrace the plan if it is to be approved at the May 18 meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board, which must sign off on $300 million in state financing for it.

Bruno has not committed either way on the project either.

As the Times noted, however, both leaders might simply be holding out their support until the last minute while seeking concessions on other matters.

Schools: State University of New York – Brockport