UAlbany student sues top officials at university

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A student from the University of Albany is suing one of the university’s top administrators and chief of University Police.

This story was first reported by the Times Union.

We’ve obtained a copy of the lawsuit. It says graduate student Amie Zimmerman accuses the Vice President for Finance and Administration Todd Foreman and UAlbany’s Chief of Police Paul Burlingame for violating her first amendment right through the use of violent force. Zimmerman claims this happened on Oct. 15 during a protest her organization, GSEU, led against unlawful wage practices at UAlbany. Zimmerman said she was chanting “End Wage Theft.”

The lawsuit then goes on to show that Foreman and Burlingame told Zimmerman she’s not allowed to use a megaphone for reasons she was unclear of. Then the suit details how Burlingame stood on Zimmerman’s left side and shouted in her ear stop chanting, while at her right, Foreman physically gripped her upper arm and shoulder and squeezed very hard, while shouting in her ear that she’s not allowed to use a megaphone.

The lawsuit claims several people witnessed the “forceful restraint and battery, which left deep indentations in her upper arm and shoulder.”

We reached out to UAlbany for a statement:

“UAlbany is committed to protecting the rights of free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions, and GSEU members have repeatedly and freely exercised these rights on campus.

“The University does not comment on pending litigation or personnel matters and is barred by federal student privacy law from disclosing information related to student conduct proceedings. It is both extremely concerning and disappointing that the complaint contains numerous inaccuracies and mischaracterizations, and the University will vigorously contest these allegations in court.

“UAlbany’s nondiscrimination policy – as well as state and federal law – prohibits retaliation against members of our community who file a complaint or participate in the process. The University takes allegations of retaliation seriously and fully and impartially investigates all of them.”