State University of New York – Oswego

Location: Oswego, New York
Website: http://www.oswego.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

State University of New York – Oswego has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

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

    October 26, 2012

    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 […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Faculty and Staff Handbook: Racial/Ethnic Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The College at Oswego prohibits any form of behavior that singles out an individual or group for the purpose of undermining their racial, cultural and religious heritage. The College at Oswego remains a campus committed to multi-cultural educational goals. These goals can only be attained in a racially and culturally integrated environment where civility transcends prejudice and cultural exchange serves to enhance the climate of an academic community.

    Individuals who expose others to threats of violence, or verbal or written (e.g. graffiti) abuse on the basis of race, color, creed, or religion, are in direct conflict with the anti-racial/ethnic harassment policy of this college. In addition, such actions are in violation of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct: Conduct Subject to Disciplinary Action 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    [T]he following conduct is subject to disciplinary action.

    Disruptive behavior, including but not limited to: … harassment, intimidation, stalking, domestic violence, bullying, or creating a hostile environment toward any individual or group of individuals;

    Sexual Misconduct including all forms of sexual violence, including but not limited to: … nonconsensual verbal, non-verbal, or cyber communication of a sexual nature ….

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  • Student Handbook: College Policies- Bias Crimes and Prevention 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    In addition to preventing and prosecuting hate/bias crimes, the College addresses bias-related acts that do not rise to the level of a crime. It is the position of the College that bias-related incidents include acts that are motivated by bias, but may not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. These activities, referred to as bias incidents, are violations of the College’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct where the perpetrator selects a person or group of persons against whom the offense is committed in whole or in part because of a belief or perception regarding national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, creed, or marital status. All bias incidents should be reported to the University Police ….

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: The Residence Hall Community- A Community of Similarities & Differences 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Residence hall staff support the belief that respect for individual and group differences is an appropriate expectation to place on resident students and when individuals act in a manner which shows disregard for the feelings of others, staff are trained and expected to intervene.

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: Disruptive Behavior 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Disruptive behavior including: 1) harassment or creating a hostile environment through discrimination, intimidation, ridicule, or insult toward any person; 2) acts of prejudice or bias targeted toward a person or group ….

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Green Light Policies
  • 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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  • Censorship 1, Fun 0: U of Alabama Frosh Ticketed for Harlem Shake Video Shoot

    February 19, 2013

    The Crimson Tide was ready to Harlem Shake — but then the police showed up and shut down a student’s music video. Yesterday afternoon, University of Alabama freshman Nojan Radfar learned a hard and fast lesson about the absurdity of campus censorship. Like countless others across the nation, Radfar wanted his fellow students to represent their beloved school by putting a unique University of Alabama twist on the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon currently enthralling our country. Before we go any further with Radfar’s story, here’s the obligatory “Harlem Shake” primer for those readers over the age of 25 and/or living in a cave: […]

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  • 2012: a tough year for free speech on campus

    December 26, 2012

    There’s no place in the world where speech is freer than the United States of America. It’s a vital part of the attraction our land has always had for those around the world who find themselves marginalized, persecuted, or worse because of what they say or what they believe. Unfortunately, our college campuses are an exception to our exceptional freedom — and for those of us who care about freedom in academia, 2012 was another tough year. First, some good news: the latest numbers, just released by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), show that when […]

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  • Why Banning Offensive Speech on Campus Fails (VIDEO)

    November 29, 2012

    A few weeks back, I wrote about a journalism student at a public college in New York who was suspended for sending an email that offended hockey coaches. Unsurprisingly, most HuffPost readers found the situation outrageous — because under the First Amendment, it takes more than mere offense to render speech subject to punishment and censorship. Unfortunately, my experience defending student rights on campuses nationwide shows that this isn’t an isolated incident. Students get punished for protected speech that offends someone all the time. It doesn’t matter whether the speech offends hockey coaches, liberals,conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or just those with delicate ears – if someone on campus […]

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  • SUNY Oswego president “heart sick” over case of student suspended for misrepresentation

    November 16, 2012

    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

    November 12, 2012

    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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  • How an email to three college coaches led to a near suspension for SUNY Oswego student

    November 12, 2012

    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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  • The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2013

    December 27, 2013

    College is where inquisitive minds go to be exposed to new ways of thinking. But on some campuses, the quest for knowledge is frustrated when administrators censor speech they would prefer be kept out of the marketplace of ideas. To close out the year, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) want to highlight some of the worst colleges for free speech since March 2012—the last time we published this list. (Our first list, from 2011, is here.) Most of the schools we include in this year’s list are public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. But some of […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Inappropriately Cites FERPA in Refusing to Disclose Discipline Information

    November 18, 2013

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported last Wednesday that the State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego) is denying requests from student newspaper The Oswegonian for information about conduct violations by Greek organizations, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is meant to ensure the privacy of students’ educational records, but colleges and universities often try to use the federal law to keep records hidden when those records contain potentially embarrassing information—even if releasing them poses no risk to students’ privacy. Oswegonian news editor Seamus Lyman claims that’s just what is happening at SUNY Oswego. An editorial published in The Oswegonian earlier this month called for more transparency […]

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

    July 15, 2013

    It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I believe bear special emphasis. 1. Overbroad and vague harassment rationales have been the primary justification and legal theorybehind campus speech codes since the 1980s.  In one sense, the attempt to stretch the definition of harassment beyond all recognition is nothing new. Speech codes came into vogue on campuses […]

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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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