Binghamton University: Student Suspended for Posters Criticizing Department of Social Work and Government Agency

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Binghamton University, State University of New York

Under pressure from FIRE, Binghamton University (formerly SUNY-Binghamton) abandoned its attempt to suspend or expel a student who put up posters challenging the Department of Social Work. Social work master’s student Andre Massena thought the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA) was responsible for social injustice, so he put up pseudonymous posters challenging the department for having hired the BHA’s executive director as a faculty member. The department then ordered that Massena leave the program for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views. When Massena appealed, the department’s chair added entirely new allegations and recommended his expulsion. With FIRE’s support, all of the charges were dropped and Massena graduated.

  • Why Binghamton University is One of Our ’12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’

    February 1, 2011

    By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to read our list of the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech,” which we highlighted on The Huffington Post last week. Our “Dirty Dozen”—which is made up of the six colleges and universities on our Red Alert list, as well as six other institutions that have shown a profound disregard for free speech rights over the years—has quickly generated a good deal of attention and response. Peter explained on Friday why DePaul University was one of the schools outside of our Red Alert list to be selected for this dubious distinction. Today, […]

    » Read More

  • Injustice at SUNY Binghamton

    August 31, 2010

    Andre Massena was almost expelled from SUNY Binghamton after he publicly criticized a faculty member he thought was responsible for social injustice. With FIRE’s help, Andre graduated.  

    » Read More

  • Binghamton Part 2: A Focus on Speech Codes

    February 10, 2010

    The lead editorial in the current Binghamton Review, which calls for dramatic changes to the leadership of Binghamton University’s (BU’s) Department of Social Work (“FIRE Laura Bronstein”), points out that even with two dramatic violations of student rights in the department in the past twelve months, BU’s situation—on paper, at least—is far better than those of the majority of their fellow colleges and universities. The Review explains that  compared to other colleges, Binghamton University is one of the most free, at least in terms of commitment to free expression. According to a report by FIRE, over 70% of colleges and universities restrict the speech of their […]

    » Read More

  • Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on our Nation’s College Campuses

    February 23, 2009

    FIRE’s Adam Kissel traveled to Binghamton University (BU) to deliver a speech on “Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on our Nation’s College Campuses.” The speech, which was followed by an hour-long question-and-answer period, discussed speech codes nationwide and drew particular attention to FIRE’s recent case at BU involving Andre Massena and BU’s Department of Social Work. Massena was threatened with suspension and then expulsion after he posted flyers around campus that criticized the Binghamton Housing Authority’s director, David Tanenhaus, and criticized the Department of Social Work for having hired him. Although the department dropped the charges against Massena under pressure […]

    » Read More

  • Adam Kissel’s Lecture at Binghamton University Featured in Latest Podcast

    February 23, 2009

    This week’s episode of FIREside Chats features part one of Adam Kissel’s lecture at Binghamton University last week. “Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on our Nation’s College Campuses” discusses speech codes nationwide and the recent events at BU involving Andre Massena and the Department of Social Work. Check back next week for part two of Adam’s speech.

    » Read More

  • Braving the Binghamton Snow to Deliver Speech on Campus

    February 20, 2009

    On Wednesday, FIRE’s Adam Kissel traveled through wintry weather to Binghamton University (BU) to deliver a speech on”Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on our Nation’s College Campuses.” The speech, which was followed by an hour-long question-and-answer period, discussed speech codes nationwide and drew particular attention to FIRE’s recent case at BU involving Andre Massena and BU’s Department of Social Work. Massena was threatened with suspension and then expulsion after he posted flyers around campus that criticized the Binghamton Housing Authority’s director, David Tanenhaus, and criticized the Department of Social Work for having hired him. Although the department dropped the charges […]

    » Read More

  • Episode 202: Adam Kissel at Binghamton University

    February 20, 2009

    This week’s episode of FIREside Chats features part one of Adam Kissel’s lecture at Binghamton University last week. “Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on our Nation’s College Campuses” discusses speech codes nationwide and the recent events at BU involving Andre Massena and the Department of Social Work. Check back next week for part two of Adam’s speech.

    » Read More

  • Interview in ‘Review’ Sets Stage for Adam’s Visit to Binghamton University

    February 18, 2009

    This month’s issue of the Binghamton Review features an interview with Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, in which Adam discusses FIRE’s speech code ratings and what has earned Binghamton University (BU) its current “yellow-light” rating on Spotlight: The Campus Freedom Resource. The interview, conducted by CFN member Adam Shamah ’11, is timely, given the problems FIRE has confronted at Binghamton in recent months. Torch readers should be well aware of the abhorrent treatment of social work graduate student Andre Massena by the BU Department of Social Work, which ordered his suspension for posting flyers critical of […]

    » Read More

  • FIRE on FOX40 News Binghamton

    February 18, 2009

    After Adam Kissel’s visit to Binghamton University to speak about FIRE’s recent case at BU involving Andre Massena and BU’s Department of Social Work, the local FOX News affiliate ran a story on the event.  

    » Read More

  • SUNY-Binghamton Student Accuses Social-Work Department of Retaliation

    December 23, 2008

    The State University of New York at Binghamton tried unsuccessfully this fall to suspend a social-work student after he displayed posters criticizing an adjunct instructor at the university. Now, the student says, the social-work department is trying to force him out by unfairly giving him bad grades. The student – Andre Massena – is enrolled in the master’s program in social work. Last summer he tacked up posters on the campus criticizing the Binghamton Housing Authority for evicting a single mother and her children, and asking people to call the social-work department to complain. David K. Tanenhaus, the housing authority’s […]

    » Read More

  • Binghamton University Continues War on Social Work Student by Other Means

    December 22, 2008

    After FIRE intervened in defense of Binghamton University Department of Social Work student Andre Massena, we announced that the department had backed down from its attempts to suspend or expel him because of his political activism against a professor who was also head of the Binghamton Housing Authority—activism which had embarrassed the department. It seems that the department is now trying to expel him by other means. One angry student, the pseudonymous “Lisa White,” has reported that students have noticed the changes in how professors are treating and grading Massena, and that she and at least one other student are […]

    » Read More

  • Binghamton University Student Alleges Retaliation, More Problems in Department of Social Work

    December 22, 2008

    Binghamton University student “Lisa White” (apparently a pseudonym) has sent FIRE and many Binghamton administrators and students an e-mail with some very disturbing allegations that the BU Department of Social Work is actively retaliating against master’s student Andre Massena, whom the chair tried to expel earlier this semester for his political activism. (Read the Binghamton Review‘s account of the exceedingly shameful tale here.) When FIRE exposed this shameful case to national public outcry, Massena was able to avoid “advancement” (which, believe it or not, is the Department of Social Work’s Orwellian term for expulsion) from the program. Unfortunately (but not […]

    » Read More

  • ‘Binghamton Review’ Blasts Binghamton Social Work Department in Activism Case

    December 22, 2008

    Binghamton University’s Department of Social Work still has a lot to answer for in the case of social work master’s student Andre Massena, whom the chair tried to expel after he placed posters on campus criticizing the department for what he thought was its social injustice. In the December issue of the Binghamton Review, student Adam Shamah has written a 1,000-word piece on the case under the title, “Lighting a F.I.R.E. Under the Social Work Department.” Shamah’s strong article chronicles this outlandish case to the utter shame of the department. The story is so compelling that I include most of […]

    » Read More

  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at Binghamton University Department of Social Work

    November 17, 2008

    I reported last Thursday and Friday on the case of Binghamton University (formerly SUNY–Binghamton) social work master’s student Andre Massena, who faced suspension or expulsion after he put up posters challenging the Department of Social Work. The department had ordered that he leave the program for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views after his pseudonymous posters challenged the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA)—an agency Massena thought was responsible for social injustice. When Massena appealed, the department’s chair, Laura […]

    » Read More

  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at Binghamton University Department of Social Work

    November 17, 2008

    BINGHAMTON, N.Y., November 17, 2008—Binghamton University (formerly SUNY–Binghamton) has abandoned its attempt to suspend or expel a student who put up posters challenging the Department of Social Work. The department had ordered that social work master’s student Andre Massena leave the program for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views after his pseudonymous posters challenged the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA)—an agency Massena thought was responsible for social injustice. When Massena appealed, the department’s chair added entirely new allegations […]

    » Read More

  • Binghamton Social Work Case Gets National Attention, Student Government Support

    November 14, 2008

    The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) and The Volokh Conspiracy both have reported on the case of Binghamton University Department of Social Work master’s student Andre Massena, who was suspended for one year with no guarantee of return, required to apologize, required to disavow his own views, and required to make every effort to get others to stop complaining to the department after he put up posters that embarrassed his department. The posters challenged the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority, an agency Massena thought was responsible for social injustice. Massena remains in […]

    » Read More

  • Social-work student lands in hot water over posters at Binghamton

    November 14, 2008

    The social-work department at the State University of New York at Binghamton wants a graduate student to withdraw for a year after he put up posters on the campus criticizing the Binghamton Housing Authority and an adjunct professor in the department who heads the authority. The student, Andre Massena, is enrolled in the master’s program in social work.   To read the complete article, you must have a subscription to The Chronicle online.

    » Read More

  • Binghamton University Department of Social Work Declares War on Student for Posters Criticizing Department and Government Agency

    November 13, 2008

    Today’s press release paints a very disturbing picture of Binghamton University’s Department of Social Work. The department ordered the suspension of a master’s student for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views after he put up posters challenging the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA)—an agency the student thought was responsible for social injustice. Student Andre Massena remains in school pending an appeal, which is to be heard tomorrow afternoon. On August 25, 2008, Massena put up posters on campus […]

    » Read More

  • Binghamton University Department of Social Work Declares War on Student for Posters Criticizing Department and Government Agency

    November 13, 2008

    BINGHAMTON, N.Y., November 13, 2008—Binghamton University’s Department of Social Work ordered the suspension of a master’s student for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views after he put up posters challenging the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA)—an agency the student thought was responsible for social injustice. Student Andre Massena, who remains in school pending an appeal, has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “This is an appallingly transparent attempt by Binghamton University’s Department […]

    » Read More