Binghamton University, State University of New York: Campus police surveil students, threaten prosecution over anti-racism flyers

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: Binghamton University, State University of New York

On March 28, 2018, a group of Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY Binghamton) students posted approximately 200 flyers in the university’s Downtown Center. The flyers criticized the administration’s response to recent incidents of perceived racist expression on campus. A campus police officer stopped a student posting flyers and questioned him about them, claiming that he had broken state law. Campus police later announced that an investigation had been opened into the flyers.

The students then began distributing flyers directly outside the Downtown Center and were interrupted by a campus police officer again, who explained that “people came to [him] and were offended by” their flyers. He went on to warn the students that they would be asked to stop distributing flyers if their recipients littered them. FIRE wrote to SUNY Binghamton President Harvey G. Stenger on April 18, asking the university to end its investigation immediately and ensure that campus police officers receive proper training on students’ right to distribute expressive materials on campus.

There is currently no media coverage for this case.
  • Binghamton University campus police surveil students and threaten prosecution over anti-racism flyers

    May 21, 2018

    Campus police told students they’d be responsible if other students littered the flyers BINGHAMTON, N.Y., May 21, 2018 — After calling students’ expressive activities “a violation of the law and of the student handbook,” State University of New York at Binghamton campus police surveilled students’ literature distribution, threatened to prosecute them for posting flyers indoors, and told them they would be held responsible if other students littered their flyers. Today, FIRE calls on Binghamton University to drop its investigation and commit to ensuring its campus police respect students’ First Amendment rights. “By surveilling students’ expressive activity and warning them that they would […]

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