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Congressman Defends Leaving His District For A Meeting With College Republicans

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed said his recent meeting with College Republicans at Binghamton University was appropriate, even though the school is not inside Reed's district.

The Corning Republican's district stretches across the Southern Tier, but does not include Broome County where the university is located.  Broome County is currently represented in the U.S. Congress by freshman Democrat Anthony Brindisi.  

Reed argues some of his constituents are students and staff at the University.   

Reed visited the campus Tuesday for a meeting with college Republicans. The group claims its free speech rights were violated during protests.  They resulted in the cancellation last November of a lecture by a conservative economist, who had been invited by the group to speak.

Reed said he wanted to send a message that the people of central and western New York respect freedom of speech.

"This is not how we embrace freedom of speech," Reed said. "This is not how we deal with the issue of differences of opinions and we are going to be tolerant of each other on both sides of the equation."

The congressman added that he wanted to take a stand, "for the Constitution and for the freedom of speech, not only because it impacts us in the congressional district here but it impacts the state and impacts the nation as a whole."

Reed previously wrote to the SUNY chancellor and University president about school policies meant to protect free speech.