YAF v. SUNY-Binghamton is the latest civil rights action brought by Young America’s Foundation—through Alliance Defending Freedom and attorneys from King & Spaulding—under the First and Fourteenth Amendments following brazen denials of conservative students’ constitutional rights.
Young America’s Foundation (YAF)—joined by plaintiffs SUNY-Binghamton College Republicans (BUCR) and current BUCR President Jon Lizak—filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Harvey Stenger, president of SUNY-Binghamton; Brian Rose, vice president for Student Affairs at SUNY-Binghamton; John Pelletier, chief of SUNY-Binghamton’s University Police Department; College Progressives, a registered student organization at SUNY-Binghamton; and Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT), a leftist collective based in Binghamton, New York.
-On November 14, 2019, a 200-person mob of leftist College Progressives activists harassed and assaulted BUCRs while they were tabling on campus to promote a November 18, 2019, YAF lecture featuring Dr. Arthur Laffer. The SUNY-Binghamton campus police did nothing to protect the BUCR’s right to free speech and SUNY-Binghamton administrators took no actions to hold the responsible individuals accountable.
-Following the tabling fiasco, YAF repeatedly sought assurances that SUNY Binghamton administrators and police would not allow such a debacle to happen a second time and instead would protect Dr. Laffer and his right to speak if a similar mob of leftists attempted to impose a “heckler’s veto” by disrupting the lecture and shouting him down. YAF requested that the protesters be removed, not Dr. Laffer. SUNY Binghamton declined to provide any such assurance.
-In between the tabling episode and the lecture, College Progressives and radical leftist agitators, operating as “PLOT,” worked in tandem to develop a strategy to interrupt and silence Dr. Laffer before he could speak. SUNY-Binghamton authorities were aware of these plans ahead of the lecture and took no action in opposition.
-Despite their knowledge of the protesters’ plans to violate the constitutional rights of Dr. Laffer, YAF, and BUCR, SUNY-Binghamton administrators actually took action to make the planned disruption easier by providing the leftist agitators with a room immediately adjacent to the lecture hall in which Dr. Laffer would be speaking.
-On November 18, 2019, Dr. Laffer arrived and attempted to deliver his lecture at SUNY-Binghamton, but members of PLOT and College Progressives quickly interrupted Dr. Laffer’s remarks within seconds of his taking the podium. Campus police stood by and did nothing to prevent the unlawful disruption.
-Instead of removing the disrupters, SUNY-Binghamton police instead removed Dr. Laffer from the lecture hall. In its failure to allow Dr. Laffer to deliver his lecture, SUNY Binghamton failed to honor its constitutional obligations to protect freedom of speech. The university also failed to demonstrate any respect for the many students who showed up to hear a viewpoint different from the prevailing leftist mantra which they are subjected to at the university every single day.
-After the event, SUNY-Binghamton administrators took no action whatsoever against the College Progressives who embarrassed themselves and the university with their unlawful behavior, but instead, the university opted to take action to suspend BUCR as a campus organization.
-Capping off its illegal and discriminatory actions, SUNY-Binghamton also continued its efforts that have effectively denied students’ attempts to form a Young Americans for Freedom chapter, demonstrating a clear pattern of hostility toward—and censorship of—conservatives.
“SUNY-Binghamton administrators have demonstrated a pattern of unconstitutional censorship in coordination with off-campus leftist agitators and leftist students on campus. These disrupters and campus leaders worked to unlawfully deprive conservative students of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and equal protection,” noted Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown. “SUNY-Binghamton has a legal obligation to protect and defend the God-given and constitutionally-protected rights of its students. YAF is eager to remedy the disparate, shameful treatment of conservative students at SUNY-Binghamton with decisive action.”
The facts above, along with additional information contained in the full YAF v. SUNY-Binghamton complaint, reveal an unlawful conspiracy between SUNY-Binghamton authorities, the College Progressives student organization, and the radical PLOT agitators, to shamefully silence speech with which they disagree, a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
For additional information or to request an interview contact YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown via [email protected] or 800-872-1776.