State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Message from President Geer Regarding Factory Times

To: Students, Faculty and Staff

From: Robert E. Geer, Acting President

Date: February 28, 2014

A number of you have voiced concerns about the contents of a recent issue of the Factory Times, a SUNYIT student magazine that is published during the academic year.

Factory Times is a student publication, funded through the student activities fee as approved by the Student Association. As a student publication, it enjoys the full protection of the First Amendment. While some of us may take issue with articles and photographs in this or any issue of the Factory Times, students at SUNYIT and colleges across the country have a well-established constitutionally protected right to express themselves—even in instances when their writings and journalistic practices are found offensive by some in their audience. 

SUNYIT honors the freedom of expression that is a cornerstone of the Constitution. But we must balance our right to express ourselves freely with the rights of others, especially fellow students and other members of the SUNYIT community, to enjoy the benefits of a living and learning community; one that fosters an excellent academic experience in a safe atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. SUNYIT is committed to building a strong and supportive campus culture that reflects those values.  

I appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by some members of the SUNYIT community, and I would urge those who feel strongly about this issue to communicate with the Factory Times and with the Student Association. Just as the First Amendment protects the right to publish, it provides for a robust exchange of ideas—and, as a student publication, the Factory Times needs to hear directly from members of the campus community. 

Since I joined you as acting president last August, I have been struck by the spirit of cooperation and respect that exemplifies the SUNYIT learning community. I sincerely hope that this issue will provide an opportunity for all of us to learn from each other and renew our commitment to sustaining a safe, respectful academic community. 

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