Release Date: April 7, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo Police are responding to threatening anonymous social media posts directed at students protesting a speech on campus to be given this evening by Allen West, a conservative political commentator and former Congressman.
“We don’t have reason to believe there is a specific actionable threat to students, but we are taking the situation seriously and implementing additional measures and precautions to protect the campus community,” said UB Police Chief Chris Bartolomei. “Safety is always our foremost concern.”
University Police have also contacted the FBI’s Hate Crimes Unit for assistance in investigating the threat, according to Bartolomei. University Police typically have a presence at on-campus public events to help ensure safety, and they will have an increased presence at tonight’s event, he said.
“As a university, we want to make it very clear that we take very seriously our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming place for all UB students at all times,” said Barbara Ricotta, dean of students.” “And we stand by our commitment to upholding UB’s core values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect throughout our university, in everything we do.”
West was invited to campus to speak by the student-run chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom. Student government-sponsored clubs at UB have the ability to invite speakers of their choosing, but they must abide by university guidelines and state laws concerning public events on campus.
As a public university, all members of the university community and invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree.
This includes the right of individuals to oppose the views or opinions of others – including peaceful protests – but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker’s freedom of expression or interfere with university operations.