State University of New York – Brockport

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

Speech Code Rating

State University of New York – Brockport 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.

  • State University of New York at Brockport: Speech Code Litigation

    June 9, 2004

    As part of its ongoing Speech Code Litigation project, FIRE supported a lawsuit against State University of New York at Brockport. The suit, which was settled in May of 2005, required the school to repeal its unconstitutional policies and publicize the changes in policy through official channels such as the newspaper and college handbooks. Representing the fourth victory for FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation, the settlement was part of an ongoing process to combat speech codes throughout the country.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Posting Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    All posting material for the campus except residence halls must first be approved by the Office of Campus Life.

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  • Email and Network Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Internet/e-mail use must conform with the goal of facilitating the exchange of information to support the College’s mission. Any act contrary to this mission, whether specifically mentioned below or not, will be considered abuse of the Internet/e-mail privilege and may result in campus judicial action for students and disciplinary actions for employees including, but not limited to, loss of access.

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Green Light Policies
  • Code of Student Conduct: Sexual Misconduct Code 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    SEXUAL HARASSMENT is conduct, including physical contact, advances, and comments in person and/or via phone, text message, email, or other electronic medium, that is (a) unwelcome; (b) based on sex or gender stereotypes; and (c) is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a person’s academic performance or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from College programs or activities.

    For the purpose of this Sexual Misconduct Code there are three types of Sexual Harassment: a) Hostile Environment, b) Quid pro quo, or c) Retaliatory Harassment.

    a. A “Hostile Environment” exists when there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent and patently/objectively offensive so that that it alters the conditions of education or employment, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

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  • Notice to this Institution of any Planned Assembly, Picketing or Demonstration upon the Grounds of this Institution 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the objectives of a higher educational institution.

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Rules of Student Conduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is unwelcome conduct directed against a person based on one or more of that person’s protected characteristics or statuses (age, color, race, disability, marital status, national/ethnic origin, religion, veteran status, sex [including pregnancy], sexual orientation, political affiliation or family medical or genetic information), which is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s employment, academic performance or participation in programs or activities, and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

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  • Notice to this Institution of any Planned Assembly, Picketing or Demonstration upon the Grounds of this Institution 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Advance notice to this institution of any planned assembly, picketing, or demonstration upon the grounds of this institution must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs not later than 3 pm on the last business day prior to the planned assembly, picketing, or demonstration … provided, however, that the giving of the notice required in these procedures shall not be a condition precedent to any such assembly, picketing, or demonstration ….

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  • Brockport student editor stands fast against accusers

    March 30, 2011

    The Stylus, the student newspaper at SUNY Brockport, takes its journalism seriously, delving into such issues as the conditions of college dorms and the practices of local police. But the weekly has been feuding with the State University College at Brockport’s student government in a flap that raises First Amendment issues about what kind of control — if any — a student government should have over a college newspaper. The two have clashed over a Stylus column highly critical of the Brockport student government treasurer and a subsequent demand by student government that the paper’s editor resign; a denied Freedom […]

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  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    By Greg Lukianoff in The Boston Globe As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at colleges from New York to California, the Department of Education finally clarified that “harassment” does not mean just being offended, and Texas Tech University had to admit that its lone 20-foot-wide “free speech gazebo” was inadequate space for […]

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  • 10 great cigars and why I smoked them

    June 13, 2005

    By Mike Adams at For years, communism has been preventing me from enjoying a lot of good cigars. That used to bother me, until I found a way around the problem. As many of my readers know, there are more communists teaching on the average American campus than there are teaching in all of Cuba. And, of course, these communist professors do a lot of stupid things, most of which violate the United States Constitution. I have learned that fighting American communist professors is fun, largely because they are so easy to beat when challenged. That’s why I smoke […]

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  • FIRE Chalks Up Another Victory for Students’ Free-Speech Rights

    May 16, 2005

    The State University of New York at Brockport has agreed to repeal its speech code. It is the fourth consecutive victory for a Philadelphia-based group in its campaign against such codes on America’s public college and university campuses. Last June, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), two students in the College Republican Club filed a federal lawsuit alleging that SUNY Brockport’s anti-harassment policies violated their free-speech rights. Under Brockport’s speech code, examples of harassment included “cartoons that depict religious figures in compromising situations,” calling someone an “old bag,” and “jokes … making fun of any […]

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  • Liberating America’s Intellectual Gulags

    April 15, 2005

    David French knows what intimidation is. French, the new President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, graduated from Harvard Law School in the early 1990s. One might say that anyone with similar credentials ought to know the definition of intimidation – but French’s experience is a bit more personal than that.“As a pro-life, Christian conservative, I received death threats in my campus mailbox, was shouted down by students and (once) was even shouted down in class by my own professor,” he says about his years in Cambridge. French now spends much of his time explaining to university general […]

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  • SUNY’s Thought-Police

    July 11, 2004

    State University of New York Chancellor Robert King has a major scandal on his hands at upstate SUNY-Brockport: The campus thoughtcops have repealed the First Amendment. King needs to reinstate it—fast. Freshman Robert Wojich and senior Patricia Simpson have sued in federal court, claiming the school’s racial- and sexual-harassment codes unconstitutionally restrict free speech. In the name of battling “harassment,” SUNY-Brockport takes aim at such actions as name-calling, “discussing sexual activities”—gee, did the ’60s free-sex crowd become Victorians when they grew up?—insulting cartoons and, yes, “ethnic jokes.” Violators of such “offenses” are “subject to the campus judicial system.” Big Brother […]

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  • How SUNY Brockport smothers free speech

    July 9, 2004

    I doubt that any administrators or professors at SUNY Brockport are conspiring to do away with the First Amendment. But it is easy to believe that Brockport is run by some well-meaning people who have lost track of what freedom of speech really means. Last month two students in the college Republican Club filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Brockport’s web of anti-harassment regulations and other official statements designed to promote “diversity ” on campus amount to unconstitutional infringement of their right to freedom of speech. The students enlisted the help of an organization called the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Academic Freedom Advocates Sue Over SUNY Speech Code

    June 14, 2004

    Two conservative students are suing the State University of New York (SUNY) at Brockport over its speech code, which they say is unconstitutional. The lawsuit is the fourth in a campaign by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to rid campuses of policies that violate students’ First Amendment rights. Under SUNY-Brockport’s speech code, examples of harassment include “cartoons that depict religious figures in compromising situations,” calling someone an “old bag,” and “jokes … making fun of any protected group.” Fearing punishment under the arbitrarily restrictive code, the Brockport College Republicans were recently forced to end distribution of a […]

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  • SUNY Brockport Student Government Claims Right to Steal Student Newspaper

    March 8, 2011

    Recently, the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) has been home to one of the stranger incidents of newspaper theft I’ve come across in my years at FIRE, coupled with one of the most breathtakingly bad justifications for such activity. First, the theft. According to William Matthias, Editor in Chief of the newspaper in question, The Stylus: [Brockport Student Government, which partially funds The Stylus] Treasurer Kyle Kirchgraber recently “borrowed” bundles of The Stylus newspapers, or at least authorized the removal of the bundles, to present to the BSG appropriations committee during the budget review process. He wanted to […]

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  • Speech Codes of the Year: 2009

    December 23, 2009

    As Torch readers know, each month FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible speech code for our Speech Code of the Month award. While all 12 Speech Codes of the Month in 2009 flagrantly violated students’ right to free expression, three were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2009’s Speech Codes of the Year. New York University. NYU’s Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits “insulting,” “teasing,” and even “inappropriate jokes” based on categories such as race and religion. Although NYU is private, its policies purport to protect the right to free speech, providing that “[f]ree inquiry, free expression, and free association are […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: SUNY Brockport

    December 3, 2009

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2009: SUNY Brockport. SUNY Brockport’s “Internet/Email Rules and Regulations” state that All uses of Internet/e-mail that harass, annoy or otherwise inconvenience others are not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to … offensive language or graphics (whether or not the receiver objects, since others may come in contact with it). This policy is unconstitutional on many levels. First, the university cannot prohibit speech that merely “annoys” others—the fact that expression is annoying does not deprive it of constitutional protection. Rather, having to deal with annoyance is just one price […]

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  • Candace de Russy: Finally Free to Speak

    April 25, 2006

    Candace de Russy, a member of the State University of New York’s (SUNY’s) Board of Trustees, is also a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors—the latter position entailing no legal or fiduciary role. So when FIRE coordinated a lawsuit with FIRE Legal Network attorney Robert Goodman against SUNY Brockport’s blatantly unconstitutional speech code, it didn’t take long before the New York State Ethics Commission told Dr. de Russy not to involve herself in board discussions or decisions regarding the lawsuit, or even to talk about it anywhere else. It did not matter to the commission that FIRE did not consult with […]

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  • Authors Urge the American Historical Association to Join the Battle Against Speech Codes

    December 28, 2005

    Check out the important article “A Time to Choose for the AHA in Philadelphia: Speech Codes and the Academic Bill of Rights,” by David Beito, K. C. Johnson, and Ralph E. Luker: At the meeting of the AHA [American Historical Association] Business Meeting on January 7 in Philadelphia, the members will have a rare opportunity to stand up for academic freedom. They can vote on one of two resolutions. The weakest of the two condemns the so-called Academic and Student Bill of Rights but is completely silent on other threats to academic freedom, most notably speech codes. For this reason, […]

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  • N.Y. College Settles Lawsuit with Students Who Challenged Campus Speech Codes

    June 22, 2005

    Officials at SUNY Brockport College have settled a lawsuit over its regulations of speech on campus and have agreed to eliminate many of those restrictions and run notices in the college newspaper letting students know about the changes. The lawsuit was brought in a federal district court in Buffalo in June 2004 by two SUNY Brockport students who claimed their First Amendment rights were violated by college policies that regulated speech on campus. Those policies, including the colleges “better community standard” limited what students could say on campus, including making jokes that could be construed as offensive to others or […]

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  • In a New York Minute

    May 12, 2005

    College loosens policies on offensive speech Political correctness has taken a hit at State University College at Brockport, a story in The Buffalo News suggests. The college has settled a lawsuit charging that students’ free-speech rights were stifled by its harassment and speech code policies. As part of the settlement, the college removed from its harassment policy bans on discussing sexual activities and on making fun of certain groups. The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo after several months of negotiations between the state and the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. “Nobody can […]

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  • College settles case, will revise its speech code

    May 11, 2005

    BROCKPORT — The State University College at Brockport will modify its campus speech codes to settle a lawsuit claiming that students’ free-speech rights were being quashed. The settlement was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Buffalo after several months of negotiations between the state and the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. The original lawsuit was filed in June 2004. While the college admits no wrongdoing in the settlement, it does agree to a number of language changes in its policies. For example, it will remove such examples of prohibited behavior from its harassment policy […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech at SUNY Brockport

    May 10, 2005

    Coming close on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of the elimination of Dartmouth’s speech code, FIRE’s success continues today with a victory over the speech code at SUNY Brockport. The suit against SUNY Brockport was brought in cooperation with the hardworking volunteer attorneys of FIRE’s Legal Network as part of FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project, which aims to overturn public college or university speech codes in every federal circuit. So far, FIRE has met with an astounding level of success, with a perfect record of four lawsuits filed and four victories for free speech. The success of this project is […]

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  • Another FIRE Victory Over Speech Codes: SUNY Brockport Settles Suit in Favor of Free Speech

    May 10, 2005

    BUFFALO, N.Y., May 10, 2005—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has won yet another remarkable victory over campus censorship and repression. Last week, the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) settled a lawsuit brought by FIRE Legal Network attorneys and agreed to repeal its unconstitutional speech code. The settlement marks the fourth victory for FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project and requires SUNY Brockport to modify several college policies to make them consistent with the First Amendment. SUNY Brockport must also place notices of the changes on the Internet, in college offices, in college publications, and […]

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  • Is SUNY Brockport in the House?

    March 21, 2005

    As those who follow FIRE may know, last year we coordinated a speech code lawsuit against the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport). This lawsuit is ongoing, and we here at FIRE are wondering if any of our readers out there know any students at SUNY Brockport—or if they’re SUNY Brockport students themselves. If so, we’d love to get a chance to talk to those students about living in that environment. If you know someone at Brockport, or if you’re there yourself, please shoot us an e-mail at the “comments” link below. Thanks!

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  • Breaking the Silence

    September 29, 2004

    Editor’s note: Last month, we ran an article entitled, “Backlash 101,” by GNN contributor Joshua Holland, editor of USC’s progressive paper, The Trojan Horse. Holland argued that heavily-funded conservative groups were taking advantage of an anti-political correctness backlash to make political gains among impressionable college students across the country. Not everyone agreed with Holland’s analysis. Minnie Quach, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group mentioned by Holland as having ties to powerful conservatives, contacted us with an alternative view. Here Quach argues that Holland painted a much too simplistic picture of the political […]

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