Published August 18, 2017
Dear University Community,
As the start of the academic year quickly approaches, let me be the first to welcome back to campus our returning students, faculty and staff, and to welcome the newest members of our UB community.
Now more than ever, it is important to underscore that the University at Buffalo is a welcoming community. As I have stated many times, UB is committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and other campus visitors. It is who we are at UB; it is how we identify as a campus community. It is what motivates us to cultivate a living and learning community where all feel safe, respected and valued.
At the other end of the spectrum, bigotry, racism and hatred will not be tolerated and should be denounced in the most unambiguous terms. So let me make it abundantly clear: If acts spurred by bigotry, racism and hatred take place here, we will respond swiftly to protect the safety and well-being of our entire university community.
As a public university, UB upholds the principles of the First Amendment and respects this constitutionally protected right. We acknowledge differing viewpoints and do not tolerate repression of expression, even if particular views may be diametrically opposed to those of members of our university or the wider community.
We at UB also acknowledge that freedom of speech comes with a profound responsibility. Over the years, I have been heartened to see that when we exercise our freedom of speech, we engage with each other in a civil, respectful manner, even when we disagree.
As we reflect on the heartbreaking and tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, I encourage you to stand with me today—and every day—to reaffirm our shared values of inclusiveness, diversity and mutual respect. These strongly held core values are at the foundation of our academic institution and are essential to sustaining an environment where we can learn, teach, conduct research, work and thrive in an environment free from discrimination and intolerance.
Satish K. Tripathi