by Peter Bonilla
for FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)
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 Oswego's Office of Public Affairs (OPA). Myers was also enrolled in an advanced-level course in SUNY Oswego's journalism department. For one of his class assignments, Myers was given the task of writing a feature on a public figure. Myers chose SUNY Oswego men's hockey coach Ed Gosek, and on October 17, Myers sent the following email to the hockey coaches at Cornell University, Canisius College, and SUNY Cortland:
THE REST OF THE MISERY.