campus news

UB responds to controversial student event


Published March 6, 2023


The Young Americans for Freedom student chapter at UB is hosting an event on March 9 with political commentator, author and media host Michael Knowles.

This is a student-chapter event. Student government-sponsored clubs have the ability to invite speakers of their choosing, as long as they follow the laws and guidelines concerning public events on campus.

While UB does not take a position on the views of those who visit campus, the university holds steadfast to its values of diversity, inclusion, equity and mutual respect. UB’s values are supported and advanced by the Office of Inclusive Excellence in order to build a culture of diversity, social justice and inclusion that makes all members of the university community stronger. UB is committed to fostering a safe, welcoming environment at all times. The Office of Student Engagement has been providing outreach and support to students who have been impacted by the news of Thursday’s event.

As a public university, UB must uphold the principles of the First Amendment and cannot disallow student groups from inviting controversial speakers to campus, even if the views of the speaker, or content of the speech, is hurtful or demeaning. As UB has seen in the past, speakers may hold opinions contrary to its own or make comments that can polarize the campus as they do the nation. This does not change our core beliefs as a university. 

“Please know that our commitment to transgender inclusion is stronger than one speaker and one event,” said Sharon Nolan-Weiss, director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “It is ongoing and will continue through our policies, our educational offerings, our resources and our interactions.”

More information about the university’s position on freedom of expression and rules for maintaining public order can be found at