SUNY Brockport: Event Featuring Faculty-Invited Speaker, Jalil Muntaqim, Defunded, Forced Online | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

SUNY Brockport: Event Featuring Faculty-Invited Speaker, Jalil Muntaqim, Defunded, Forced Online

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State University of New York - Brockport

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Case Overview

In March 2022, SUNY Brockport faced calls from elected officials to cancel an April 6 event featuring faculty-invited speaker Jalil Muntaqim, previously known as Anthony Bottom, a former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member convicted of killing two police officers in the early 1970s. On March 16, SUNY Brockport rescinded its grant for Muntaqim’s appearance, so FIRE wrote the university explaining that viewpoint-based funding revocation violates the First Amendment. After additional public pressure, the university moved the then-privately-funded event online on March 23. On March 31, SUNY’s general counsel told FIRE the funding revocation was due to “noncompliance with internal … processes.” FIRE responded the next day, explaining the university violated faculty rights by defunding the event and moving it online. FIRE also expressed concern about the university’s suspicious invocation of procedural issues after previously stating the defunding was based on “more information.” SUNY Brockport did not answer FIRE’s second letter, but the event took place virtually on April 6.