Students at the State University of New York at Oswego received death threats after running a “Build the Wall” display on campus.
According to a report from The College Fix, a group of students at SUNY Oswego received death threats after they organized a “Build the Wall” activism event on campus.
“We had several great discussions with passing by students and we were only treated to dirty looks in terms of negativity at the table,” one of the student activists said in a comment. “After the event, social media blew up into a storm of bullying harassment and then turned to violent threats of shooting, jumping, and ‘greasing’ our members. To make matters worse, soon after, these offenders targeted our direct messages with their threats of violence.”
“Fellas if ya’ll locked in a room with these 3 ugly mf’s and only got 27 bullets which one ya’ll shootin’ first?” one user wrote on Twitter, in reference to the three conservative student activists.
SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley condemned the threats in a statement. Stanley said that university police opened an investigation into those who sent the threats to the students. The police officers contacted Twitter, leading the platform to suspend the users. Stanley noted that threats of violence often have the impact of increasing the visibility and popularity of the ideas that sparked the threat.
Yesterday, several violent threats were posted on social media against a properly recognized student organization and its members who were appropriately permitted to table in Marano Campus Center. University Police immediately opened an investigation and requested information from the social media host site. The site took down the posted threats and suspended the accounts. The on campus investigation continues. Violent threats will not be tolerated and are not protected by freedom of speech. We will pursue offenders as soon as we become aware of threats of violence or other criminal acts.
The principles of free speech and expression are fundamental to an open society. As an academic community, we know that the building blocks of learning are based on the quest for information and analysis in the context of open inquiry, skepticism and debate. While some ideas and opinions are vastly different from our own and may be anathema to what we think and believe, I strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff who wish to rebut expressions of others to use their words and voices to add their experiences and understandings to the public “marketplace of ideas” that is the soul of SUNY Oswego. An ill-tempered and threatening response may very well bolster those ideas you wish to debunk and make you subject to judicial proceedings.
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