SUNY Board of Trustees and SUNY Chancellor Statement

November 20, 2019

"Our institutions of higher learning are beacons of free speech, debate, expression, and discourse. These values are fundamental to our core mission to protect academic freedom and inquiry. However, let us be clear, this beacon of light does not extend to speech that only incites acts of violence. As a community, we must act together to swiftly condemn these actions and devote every resource available to protect our students, faculty, staff, and campus communities. We should all take a moment to learn from our shared diversity, learn from our core academic values, and see the respect we have for all people and how we treat each other with dignity."

"Today, the SUNY Board of Trustees and the Chancellor, in our unified commitment and responsibility to act quickly following the lead of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, are assembling a SUNY task force charged with the full authority of the Board of Trustees to listen to students, campus leadership, and staff, and develop any necessary changes we need to campus policies, trainings, and how we respond to future incidents. The Chancellor will also be convening all presidents and campus leadership here to Albany to address these issues and uncover ways to ensure that all campuses remain safe."

"Working together with our campus community we reaffirm our commitment to a shared community vision that celebrates our diversity and protects our core values of free speech and debate."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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