SUNY Oswego president responds to employee e-mail

by Carol Thompson

An e-mail message sent by a SUNY Oswego student to other students in regard to a rally to be held in front of the Oswego County office complex somehow landed in the inbox of Jeff Grimshaw, the director for SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations, who in turn forwarded it to Oswego County Administrator Phil Church.

In the April 30 e-mail, Grimshaw wrote to Church, “I thought you would be interested in this activity, (student) is not representing the college in this activity, he is graduating in a couple of weeks, just so you are prepared. He tried to instigate at the governor’s visit as well, don’t know to what extent this will develop or not, he had about 10 -15 students at the governor’s event. Give me a call if you need anything further.”

Church simply responded, “Thanks Jeff” on the same date.

The student’s message contained information in regard to a May 9 rally to protest the appointment of former legislature chairman Fred Beardsley to the position of county treasurer. The rally was intended to protest overall government corruption as well.

The event has been well publicized since mid-April on social media sites and blogs.

Upon learning that Grimshaw may have communicated with Church about the rally, a request was made under the Freedom of Information Law to SUNY Oswego for Grimshaw’s e-mail correspondence.

SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said Thursday that Grimshaw was not acting on behalf of the college and that the college was unaware of the message until the time of the inquiry made by The Valley News.

“Mr. Grimshaw did not communicate with Mr. Church with the knowledge of, at the direction of or on the approval of SUNY Oswego,” Stanley said. “He acted on his own and the college was unaware of the comments he sent to Mr. Church…when your inquiry brought it to our attention.”

As for what Grimshaw wrote in his message, Stanley said, “We do not agree with his characterization of our student. His use of the word ‘instigate’ was completely erroneous and inappropriate and we have advised Mr. Grimshaw accordingly.”

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s paper

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