Police investigating violent social media threats made against Conservative SUNY Oswego students

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University Police at SUNY Oswego are investigating after several violent threats were sent to a Conservative on-campus group via Twitter.

The Young Americans Foundation (YAF) at Oswego were at what the group calls their “Build The Wall Table” inside the Marano Campus Center for a student expo. 

In reaction to their presence, several Twitter users posted threats to the group.

Some of the threats talked about shooting the three men pictured.

The threats have since been removed. 

The group is receiving support on campus from other political groups.

“A lot of the campus leaders, especially in the Democrat Club and other Democrats on campus have reached out in support and they are staying with us against threats of violence,” said SUNY Oswego College Republican Club President and YAF member Tyler Toomey. “They don’t agree with us on policy but a lot of student leaders from those groups are supporting us.” 

The New York Federation of College Republicans is calling for Democrats, both at the college and state, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to denounce the violence.

The Federation says the students are also receiving death threats to their individual inboxes. 

“These threats are unacceptable,  disgusting and must immediately be investigated by not only the school administration but the New York State Police. The safety of ALL of our college students regardless of club membership or political affiliation should be the #1 priority,” The NY Federation of College Republicans said in a statement.

President Deborah Stanley issued a letter to campus community members. 

Read it below: 

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

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.  

Please know we will continue to encourage all members of our campus community to embrace diversity in all its forms–diversity of people, thought and expression. And, we will remain vigilant about safety, encouraging anyone who feels unsafe or threatened to let us know.

It is not known at this time if the threats came from students or elsewhere. No word if there have been any arrests or suspensions from school. 

Toomey says SUNY Oswego Administration has yet to reach out to members of Young Americans Foundation.

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