On February 24, 2018, two RPI students stood on a sidewalk outside a hockey game, passing out buttons and literature in support of the “Renew Rensselaer” campaign, an alumni effort closely related to the student-driven “Save the Union” campaign. After security guards told the students they had to leave, the students argued that the sidewalk was public property, not the private property of RPI. The security guards told the students that they had power to remove them under “eminent domain.” RPI’s lawyer later claimed, without proof, that RPI owns the sidewalk (not that it matters, as RPI promises its students freedom of expression on or off campus), that RPI policy requires students to get permission before expressing themselves on campus (it doesn’t), and that RPI’s goal is to have a “controlled environment” lest students advocate for political candidates or the NRA.
March 26, 2018
In February, students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute stood on a sidewalk outside of a hockey game, passing out buttons and flyers critical of the administration — until private security guards stopped them, claiming they had “eminent domain” over what the students reasonably believed to be a public sidewalk. In a town hall last week (full video here, and relevant video here), RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson asked the Institute’s public relations director and lawyer to respond to the controversy. After conceding that an officer was wrong to use the term “eminent domain” — which made no sense at all — […]» Read More
March 15, 2018
Last month, private security guards at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute booted two students from a sidewalk as they passed out flyers and buttons critical of the administration outside of a hockey game. When the students pointed out that the sidewalk appeared to be a public sidewalk — as opposed to the property of the private institution — the officers claimed that RPI controlled it because of “eminent domain.” So we sent RPI a letter — our fourth since October — pointing out that this was incoherent censorship and asking for an explanation, as well as any documents that might explain why […]» Read More
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute security officers block students from passing out literature on public sidewalk, claiming “eminent domain”
March 5, 2018
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private institution in upstate New York, recently earned a spot on FIRE’s list of the ten worst colleges for free speech, due in large part to its ongoing suppression of the student-led “Save the Union” campaign. Those students, critical of what they see as RPI administrators’ attempts to wrest control of the century-old, student-run Rensselaer Union, have seen administrators repeatedly deny permission to hold peaceful demonstrations; have repeatedly videotaped employees tearing down flyers; have recorded security officers ordering them not to post flyers; and have been subjected to investigations and unfounded charges of violating the student […]» Read More