State University of New York – Albany

Location: Albany, New York
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

State University of New York – Albany has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Community Rights and Responsibilities: Prohibited Conduct- Disruptive Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Acting to impair, interfere with or obstruct the orderly conduct, processes and functions of the University or surrounding community. This behavior includes, but is not limited to, excessive noise, abusive or obscene language in a public place ….

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  • Community Rights and Responsibilities: Supplemental Policies & Information- Harassment/Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment may range from inappropriate sexual innuendoes to coerced sexual relations. Examples of sexual harassment that are unwelcome include but are not limited to: leering at a person’s body, unnecessary touching, pressure for sexual behaviors, sexually explicit statements communicated verbally, or through social networking sites, e-mail, and texting.

    Harassment is repetitive behaviors intended to bully, intimidate or insult another individual and can have a chilling effect on a person’s living and learning environment.

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  • Planning Protest Activity: A Guide for Student Organizations 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    Contact Student Involvement & Leadership in Campus Center 130 a minimum of 5 business days prior to the proposed date and time to complete an event registration form. A professional staff member will contact you within 24 hours to discuss the proposed event. Full disclosure regarding the nature of the program is essential in order to approve your activity. Once your event registration form is reviewed, a professional staff member will notify you of the approval of the event as well as the time, place and manner in which the event will be held.

    In the event that the proposed activity is planned in direct response to a current event, Student Involvement & Leadership realizes that it may not be possible to submit a request five business days in advance. In such cases, the event organizer should meet as soon as possible with a liaison in Student Involvement & Leadership in order to coordinate the protest activity

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  • Complaint Procedures for Allegations of Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual Harassment in the Educational Setting is defined as:

    Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment of a student denies or limits, on the basis of sex, the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the educational institution’s program.

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  • Responsible Use of Information Technology 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Improper use includes, but is not limited to: unauthorized access to or misuse of network or electronic data in any form; the use of another’s computing account, circumventing network security measures; the use of University networks, computer resources or data for private, commercial or political purposes; harassment or defamation; the unauthorized alteration of electronic files; disruption or interference (hacking/spam/viral programs); software license or copyright violations; violations of federal or state law, or applicable SUNY or University at Albany policies.

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  • Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    In accordance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations and University policy, UAlbany defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome” sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

    In the University environment, conduct that may be considered sexually harassing for the same or opposite sex whether physical, verbal, visual, or written, include but are not limited to:

    • lingering or intimate touches
    • sexual jokes or innuendoes
    • flirtations, e.g., repeated requests for dates
    • sexual advances or propositions
    • graphic comments about a person’s physique
    • sexually suggestive objects or pictures displayed in areas of common viewing

    Hostile environment is defined as a pattern of unwelcome behavior or a single egregious incident that creates an offensive learning or work environment. A hostile environment occurs when unwelcome conduct, sexual or sex-based, severe or pervasive, that offends, intimidates, ridicules, and insults an individual sufficiently enough to alter his/her work or learning environment. There is no absolute example of a hostile environment, as each incident is given consideration to the record as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the content in which the alleged incident(s) occurred. 


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Green Light Policies
  • Colleges learning a tough lesson

    June 1, 2006

    Luke Daquino, a former University at Albany lacrosse player, said he never understood why today’s students bare their souls on the Internet. The growing popularity of Web sites such as, and allow the college crowd to share personal information and photographs all over the country. “None of that stuff for me,” said Daquino, who graduated last year. “You put way too much stuff on there, you get yourself in trouble. Especially in college, people put pictures of everything that goes on, and they go everywhere.” Some colleges are finding that out the hard way. Photos of alleged […]

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  • Do you have the right to not be offended?

    September 26, 2005

    In many schools, speech codes and guidelines are written and enforced with the intention of protecting the general student body. Often, these codes are accepted with little to no opposition from faculty members or students. However, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education or FIRE, many rules attempting to regulate speech in colleges and universities, including UAlbany, violate the First Amendment. According to Samantha Harris, an attorney from FIRE, most universities tend to act “in loco parentis,” meaning they attempt to fulfill the role of parents on campus. “This approach is problematic because it limits a student’s right […]

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  • On campus, students fight to be right

    May 1, 2005

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last month at Skidmore College, a group of students planned a “Coming Out Day.” The students weren’t celebrating their sexuality, but their conservativeness. They belonged to the Young Republican Assembly. While the group wound up changing the name of the event because some students took offense, their decision to tag such a right-wing event with a moniker often associated with the left was no coincidence. The conservative movement on college campuses today is characterized by its adoption of concepts that the left has relied on for years. Now, when young Republicans speak out, they call for tolerance, […]

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  • OSPIRG: down but not out

    April 8, 2005

    In the middle of an unusually warm February earlier this year, the talk all over campus was OSPIRG. For the past three years, the activist group has wrangled with student government over how much money would be allocated to their efforts at PSU. This year, after two hours of deliberation OSPIRG got its answer. No large increase, no large payout. Student government again was not swayed by the group’s impassioned pleas for funding and sent them packing with thousands less than they had asked for. Students came pouring out of the meeting crying, aghast that their efforts had failed for […]

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  • Dorm Room Door Decorations Allowed… As Long as You Don’t Criticize the Food

    October 14, 2009

    FIRE is looking into this interesting case at SUNY Albany (University at Albany), where it has been reported that a student was ordered to remove from his dorm room door “a satirical representation of the definition of Chartwells food service” because it was said to be defacing campus property, while other students’ postings on their own doors were allowed to remain. More on this case later.

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  • Second Circuit: Allocation of Mandatory Student Activity Fees Cannot Hinge on Advisory Referenda

    November 26, 2007

    Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in Amidon v. Student Ass’n of the State Univ. of N.Y., holding that the student government of the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY-Albany) cannot base allocation decisions about mandatory student activity fees upon the outcomes of student referenda, even when such referenda are merely “advisory.” Specifically, the Second Circuit ruled that SUNY-Albany’s Student Association (SA) violated the First Amendment by conducting advisory referenda votes of the student body to determine student support for particular funding decisions for certain registered student groups. The […]

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