Chancellor King and SUNY Board of Trustees Statement on Juneteenth

June 19, 2023

“On this date 158 years ago, Union soldiers proclaimed to the enslaved people of Texas that the bondage forcing them to live in unspeakably cruel and inhumane conditions had ended two and a half years before.

“Juneteenth is an important acknowledgment of the dark reality of our nation’s history and of the progress we have made toward a more equitable and just society. While the institution of slavery is no more, racism, discrimination, bigotry, and other myriad hatreds persist, and not every American has been granted the opportunity to participate fully in a society founded on the principle of equality and justice for all.

"As we commemorate Juneteenth and reflect on its legacy, some would have us ban discussions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and systemic racism for fear of acknowledging the ugly injustices that are part of our national story. At SUNY, diversity, equity, and inclusion are bedrock principles that inform everything we do.

"SUNY was created by the state of New York 75 years ago, and it is a point of immense pride that inclusiveness and opportunity for all were integral to our founding and have always remained a bedrock value of our campuses. As we move forward, the resolve to provide access, community, and a true place for all has never been stronger.

"On this Juneteenth, we remain steadfast in our commitment to a more equitable society. While we cannot change the past, we at SUNY can build a better future for all by ensuring more access to higher education, particularly for underrepresented groups, while simultaneously embracing the uncomfortable truths and fostering difficult conversations about this nation's struggles—even as we build a brighter future together."

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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