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

Category: Free Speech
Schools: State University of New York – Oswego

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 prohibited emails that “defame, harass, intimidate, or threaten another individual or group.” FIRE wrote to Stanley on October 26, 2012, arguing that the charges were blatantly unconstitutional. In response, SUNY dropped the “disruptive behavior” charge, though it found him guilty of “dishonesty” and ordered him to write apology letters to the hockey coaches.