State University of New York at Potsdam: Restrictions on Students Associating with “Banned” Organizations

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

In the fall 2019 semester, SUNY Potsdam created a flyer listing 16 fraternities and sororities that its students may not “pledge, join, accept membership, affiliate in any way, or seek to perpetuate” at the risk of “potential suspension or expulsion.” After one of the affected student groups contacted FIRE about SUNY Potsdam’s list of “banned organizations,” FIRE raised the First Amendment concerns presented by these restrictions on students’ freedom to associate in an April 29 letter to the university. The university declined to address FIRE’s concerns with the prohibition.