The City University of New York has consistently and strongly condemned all forms of bigotry and discrimination, including anti-Semitism, and we will continue to do so. We have been deeply concerned with some recent activities on CUNY campuses and we are committed to ensuring that none of our students are subjected to conduct that would interfere with their opportunity to exercise their rights, obtain an education and participate fully in the life of the University because of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation or personal or political views.
We take seriously our responsibility to promote and encourage tolerance and civility and to respond to allegations of prohibited harassment or intimidation so that all our students may enjoy an environment in which they can learn and thrive. I have engaged highly regarded outside counsel to review incidents and University responses and provide recommendations following their review.
As a public university, CUNY cannot infringe the constitutional rights of free speech and association of its students, faculty and staff. … The ideas and opinions of members of the University community will often conflict, and the University cannot shield individuals from speech they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even offensive. To ensure that our policies appropriately, consistently and clearly reflect these principles, I recently established a working group of administrative, faculty and student representatives to review University policies on speech and expression at CUNY and make recommendations.
At the same time, we firmly believe that all members of the University community share responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect and civil discourse, and we are working with college leadership, faculty, staff and students with this in mind. I will appoint a task force of administrators, faculty and students to review the ways CUNY colleges promote a campus climate that supports a respectful exchange of ideas, identify best practices across CUNY and learn from the experiences of other universities.
These actions reflect our commitment to ensure that The City University of New York provides a safe and welcoming environment for all members of the University community, while preserving the University’s essential role as a center for open inquiry, robust debate and learning.
Chancellor, The City University of New York
(See story on the CUNY probe of alleged campus bias on page 10.)