State University of New York – Oswego

Location: Oswego, New York
Website: http://www.oswego.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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

    October 26, 2012

    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 […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct: Conduct Subject to Disciplinary Action

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 17, 2017

    The College will take disciplinary action against a student or student organization when it is required by law to do so, or when the nature of the conduct:

    1. Interferes with or is disruptive to the learning environment, College process or activities, and/or educational interests and mission of the College, or
    2. Endangers the health or personal safety of a member(s) of the College community, or
    3. Harms, intimidates, or threatens another member(s) of the College community.

    Within the parameters stated above, the following conduct is subject to disciplinary action.

    Harassment, intimidation or bullying, including cyberbullying; …

    Nonconsensual verbal, non-verbal, or cyber communication of a sexual nature as well as nonconsensual photography, video or audio taping or posting of sexual activity ….

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  • Student Handbook: Compliance- Bias Crimes and Prevention

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 17, 2017

    In addition to preventing and prosecuting hate/bias crimes, the College addresses bias-related acts that do not rise to the level of a crime. It is the position of the College that bias-related incidents include acts that are motivated by bias, but may not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. These activities, referred to as bias incidents, are violations of the College’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct where the perpetrator selects a person or group of persons against whom the offense is committed in whole or in part because of a belief or perception regarding national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, creed, or marital status. All bias incidents should be reported to the University Police ….

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: The Residence Hall Community- A Community of Similarities & Differences

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 17, 2017

    Residence hall staff support the belief that respect for individual and group differences is an appropriate expectation to place on resident students and when individuals act in a manner which shows disregard for the feelings of others, staff are trained and expected to intervene.

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: Disruptive Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 17, 2017

    Disruptive behavior including: 1) harassment or creating a hostile environment through discrimination, intimidation, ridicule, or insult toward any person; 2) acts of prejudice or bias targeted toward a person or group ….

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Green Light Policies
  • SUNY Oswego Lands On List Of Worst Schools For Free Speech

    January 2, 2014

    By Nick Wojton at The Palladium-Times OSWEGO – SUNY Oswego was recently named one of the worst free speech schools for students in 2013 by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) following an incident involving a student asking questions about the school’s hockey coach. FIRE has completed the list for the past three years, according to Azhar Majeed, associate director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE, and this is the first time SUNY Oswego appeared on the list. “FIRE is a watchdog organization that defends students and faculties rights on college campuses,” Majeed said. The incident that […]

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  • SUNY Oswego named worst college for free speech in 2013

    December 24, 2013

    by Geoff Herbert For the third year in a row, a Central New York school has been named one of the worst colleges for free speech. Syracuse University topped 2011’s list, created by Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), after an SU College of Law student was charged with harassment and issued a gag order over a satirical blog called SUCOLitis. In 2012, SU ranked second worst after a School of Education graduate student was nearly expelled for using Facebook to criticize a community activist’s racial comment. This year, SUNY Oswego has been named the worst college in the country for […]

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  • College Journalism Student Suspended For Attempting to Conduct An Assigned Interview

    November 15, 2012

    An incredibly contentious debate has slipped under the radar in recent years over students First Amendment rights on the college and university campus. A SUNY Oswego student is in the news after he was suspended for sending emails while attempting to conduct interviews for a class assignment. The student, Alex Myers, is an exchange student from Australia. He was recently given an assignment to write a feature article on a public figure for his advanced-level course in SUNY Oswego’s journalism department. Alex chose the men’s hockey coach, Ed Gosek, for his subject and sent an email to rival coaches coaches at Cornell University, Canisius College, […]

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  • SUNY Oswego president issues statement on student disciplined over e-mail

    November 12, 2012

    SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley has issued a statement on the case of Alexander Myers, a journalism student disciplined over an e-mail he sent to college hockey coaches. Myers, a student from Australia, was originally charged by the college with “disruptive behavior” and ordered to leave his dorm room. He was reprimanded by a college judicial panel for misrepresenting himself in the e-mail and ordered to write letters of apology. Here is Stanley’s statement: “The principles of free speech and expression are fundamental to an open society. The building blocks of learning are based on the quest for information […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Journalism Student Threatened with Suspension Over Email to Hockey Coaches

    November 12, 2012

     Officials at SUNY Oswego recently threatened an international journalism studentwith suspension and campus banishment over emails he sent to hockey coaches while working on a class assignment. – The 30-second gist, according to Gawker and FIRE: Australian native Alex Myers currently studies journalism and works in the Office of Public Affairs at SUNY Oswego.  For a class assignment requiring “a feature on a public figure,” he selected the school’s hockey coach Ed Gosek.  As part of his info gathering legwork, he emailed the hockey coaches at Cornell University, Canisius College, and SUNY Cortland requesting their feedback on Gosek. – The email contained two faux […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Paper to Student Body: ‘Test Free Speech on Campus’

    February 14, 2014

    FIRE supporters know that we’ve roundly criticized the State University of New York at Oswego’s troubled relationship with the First Amendment. Not only does SUNY Oswego earn a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database for its unconstitutional speech codes, but the university was responsible for one of the more shocking abuses of free speech we’ve seen in recent years. Of course, I’m referring to the suspension of student Alex Myers, who found himself ordered to leave campus after writing an email to a Cornell University hockey coach for a journalism class assignment. It’s a shocking story, and it earned […]

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  • The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2013

    December 27, 2013

    College is where inquisitive minds go to be exposed to new ways of thinking. But on some campuses, the quest for knowledge is frustrated when administrators censor speech they would prefer be kept out of the marketplace of ideas. To close out the year, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) want to highlight some of the worst colleges for free speech since March 2012—the last time we published this list. (Our first list, from 2011, is here.) Most of the schools we include in this year’s list are public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. But some of […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Inappropriately Cites FERPA in Refusing to Disclose Discipline Information

    November 18, 2013

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported last Wednesday that the State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego) is denying requests from student newspaper The Oswegonian for information about conduct violations by Greek organizations, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is meant to ensure the privacy of students’ educational records, but colleges and universities often try to use the federal law to keep records hidden when those records contain potentially embarrassing information—even if releasing them poses no risk to students’ privacy. Oswegonian news editor Seamus Lyman claims that’s just what is happening at SUNY Oswego. An editorial published in The Oswegonian earlier this month called for more transparency […]

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  • Four Key Points About Free Speech and the Feds’ ‘Blueprint’

    July 15, 2013

    It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I believe bear special emphasis. 1. Overbroad and vague harassment rationales have been the primary justification and legal theory behind campus speech codes since the 1980s.  In one sense, the attempt to stretch the definition of harassment beyond all recognition is nothing new. Speech codes came into vogue on campuses […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Victory Makes Media Splash

    November 20, 2012

    Earlier this month, FIRE exposed a shocking case at the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), where a student was suspended and ordered to vacate campus simply for writing emails.  Alexander Myers, an exchange student from Australia, contacted three hockey coaches from other institutions, as research for a class assignment he was writing about SUNY Oswego men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek. In his email, he wrote that “what you say about Mr Gosek does not have to be positive.” The next day, Myers received a letter from SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, which placed him […]

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  • SUNY Oswego Journalism Student Suspended for Emails to Hockey Coaches

    November 9, 2012

    As FIRE has copiously documented in recent years, universities around the country have shown a dangerous tendency to conflate protected speech with unprotected true threats. The latest case in point comes from the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), which leveled charges against a journalism student for writing a few short emails. Even with the low bar many other universities have set, SUNY Oswego’s shocking decision to pursue threat charges stands out.  The student at the center of the latest storm is Alex Myers, an exchange student from Australia who worked as an intern in SUNY […]

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