Release Date: April 17, 2013
UB promotes understanding and sensitivity between and among our diverse student body and we empathize with their concerns. The university also embraces the important concepts of freedom of speech and expression. Indeed, these freedoms are a powerful tradition in America, and nowhere does it have greater or more significant power than in universities.
Free speech and free assembly are fundamental to the concept of a university, which serves as a marketplace for the exchange of ideas and opinions and as a forum for the public expression of views. Some of the expressions may be counter to commonly held or popular values, theories and beliefs. The University at Buffalo, as a public institution, has a special obligation to protect the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, rights guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions.
The university is a public forum for the exchange of ideas. We respect the rights of all students and their organizations to present their views on a variety of topics, and we ask others to respect these rights as well. As a university, we promote understanding and diversity of thought and cannot tolerate repression of expression.
The University at Buffalo should not attempt to repress free expression because a particular view or views are morally repugnant or personally offensive to members of the university or greater community. In fact, Rules of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York specifically state, “No student, faculty or other staff member or authorized visitor shall be subject to any limitation or penalty neither solely for the expression of his views nor for having assembled with others for such purpose.”
Over the years, many controversial issues have been presented at the university. As a university community, we have a responsibility to maintain an environment that promotes free expression and challenge of ideas, but recognizes and considers the sensitivities of our diverse populations.