Statement from Chancellor King and the SUNY Board of Trustees on Juneteenth

June 19, 2024

"At SUNY, we are committed to advancing racial equity within and beyond our system by creating more opportunities for communities historically excluded from full participation in the American Dream, and by ensuring our students are exposed to the hard truths surrounding race, and our nation's history. Through education, we can bring about a more just and equitable future for all New Yorkers.

"Nearly 160 years ago today and two months after the guns fell silent and the bloody Civil War came to an end, enslaved Black Americans in Texas were informed that their time in bondage had finally ended. Freed from slavery, they continued to contend with abuse and the deep-rooted racism that even today our country has not entirely vanquished. Even so, Black Americans fought relentlessly for better lives for themselves, their communities, and their families.

"Observing Juneteenth, as we proudly do today, reminds us that although slavery has been abolished and many advances achieved, much work remains to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, have equal opportunities to live freely. While higher education is a powerful engine of social mobility, systemic injustice continues to thwart progress for far too many.

"This Juneteenth, we at SUNY reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice; and acknowledge the barriers to success that Black Americans continue to face long after the presidential decree of emancipation was read to the last enslaved Americans in Texas."

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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