Published April 20, 2022
Throughout the academic year, UB’s student organizations invite numerous speakers to campus. Although it is sometimes assumed that these student-sponsored events are endorsed by the university, that is not the case. Moreover, the university can neither challenge nor interfere with the student organization’s choice to host a given speaker based on the anticipated content of the speech.
Considering our individuality and our unique lived experiences, we can expect that, on occasion, a speaker’s sentiments, opinions and values will run counter to our own. However, we must recognize that freedom of speech, as well as the right to peacefully assemble and protest, is a foundation of our democracy that is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
As a university community committed to fostering a safe, welcoming environment for all students, employees, alumni and visitors, our shared values of inclusion and mutual respect are never understood to be conditional, or situational. Even when someone expresses sentiments that may be contrary to one’s own world view or antithetical to our university values, we have a responsibility to ourselves, to our peers and to our colleagues to abide by the rules of public order and maintain a climate of respect. It is not only my steadfast hope that we do so—it is my abiding expectation.