DOE investigates Binghamton over incident captured in 2019 viral video
Binghamton University is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education over an alleged free speech violation that took place in November 2019.
Members of the College Republicans were bombarded by leftist students during a tabling event on campus.
The College Republicans were subsequently suspended as an organization by the university.
After an event spiraled out of control on campus in November 2019, Young America’s Foundation filed a civil lawsuit against Binghamton University for alleged First and Fourteenth Amendment violations. The U.S. Department of Education is now investigating the school.
Subjects of the investigation include Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose, Chief of Binghamton University Police Department John Pelletier, the College Progressives, and Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT).
The DOE says it “has become aware of facts suggesting representations made by Binghamton University” that promise “institutional protection for free speech and free inquiry rights” are “misleading to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education credentials.”
“Instead, there seems to be evidence suggesting Binghamton selectively applies its stated policies and procedures to discriminate against students based on the content of their speech and their decision to associate with groups such as the College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom/Young America's Foundation,” the department explains.
A previous report by Campus Reform detailed the event referenced in the investigation. On Nov. 14, 2019, the College Republicans of Binghamton University held a tabling event on campus advertising a YAF lecture featuring Art Laffer, an American economist, author, and former economic advisor of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
A group of leftist students showed up at the table, flipping it over, tearing up signs, and even knocking off the Make America Great Again hat of Campus Reform Correspondent Lacey Kestecher.
Four days after the tabling incident, Laffer’s event had just begun when a man decided to yell from across the room.
The speaker was rushed out by the police. Following the event, the College Republicans organization was suspended by the university.
Binghamton University is now under investigation regarding the events of 2019.
Lacey Kestecher, a Campus Reform Correspondent and a witness of the incidents, offered her thoughts on the investigation.
“I don’t have any further information about the investigation besides what has been released regarding Binghamton University. Nevertheless, the protests which occurred last semester are an example of what is happening on campuses nationwide,” Kestecher said.
Events similar to what took place at Binghamton University are not rare.
“College conservatives are silenced when they speak up since their views do not reflect the leftists' ideas spread by institutions of higher education. Free speech is under attack from leftist administrations, professors, and students. Conservatives must continue to stand strong in their beliefs to protect the First Amendment,” Kestecher emphasizes.
“I hope this investigation ensures that Binghamton University will commit itself to protecting the First Amendment rights of all students.”
“The protests from last year were incredibly embarrassing and disappointing for Binghamton University. They clearly showed how students are unaware of ideas besides those taught to them by leftist professors. When people express their opposing viewpoints, this should never result in someone being harassed, screamed at, or having their supplies ruined - as I experienced last fall. Universities should not be indoctrinating students, but they should rather encourage them to explore new ideas,” concludes Kestecher.
President of Binghamton University College Republicans, Jon Lizak, holds similar aspirations regarding the investigation.
“I have been looking closely into the situation, and I hope something good comes of it,” Lizak said.
“Free speech is under attack all across our country, but this is especially true on our college campuses. Anything that can be done to strengthen our First Amendment right to speak our mind is a worthwhile endeavor.”
According to the President of the College Republicans, the organization was just recently allowed to return on campus.
Campus Reform reached out to the university for a comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @logandubil