How does free speech work on the SUNY New Paltz campus?
As a public university, we embrace principles of free speech, and we have an engaged student body that practices their free speech rights. We are an inclusive community striving to welcome and support everyone, regardless of their points of view. Part of our educational mission is to promote open dialogue and educate students about the importance of free expression, respectful civil discourse, and tolerance for differing views and ideas.
As a public institution, the law prevents us from regulating speech based on content, even when that speech is uncomfortable or hurtful to individuals in our community. Even speech that feels hateful is protected as free speech. In these circumstances, we support the rights of our students to speak out about speech they find to be offensive or hateful.
There are some kinds of speech that are not acceptable on our campus, and we have clear policies in place defining such disallowed speech. Harassment and true threats are not protected by the First Amendment and are not tolerated at SUNY New Paltz.
There’s more information online about our Free Speech Policies.
Is there a way for students and employees to report issues related to biased and/or harmful speech?
Yes. SUNY New Paltz has a robust Bias Response Reporting process in place as a support for members of our community who experience such incidents on or off campus. We condemn and take appropriate action against individuals who engage in acts of hatred, bigotry, racism, intolerance and violence on our campus. Questions about this process can be directed to LGBTQ+ and Diversity Manager Fresia Martinez-Olivera (845-257-3168).
What other resources are available to those who may feel hurt, marginalized or attacked by the speech of others?
Campus employees across the institution, including Student Affairs professionals, our University Police Department, peer leaders and many others, are trained and dedicated to maintaining a campus climate where students can feel empowered and protected in expressing their identities and core beliefs. We are fully committed to the safety of all who set foot on our campus, especially our students.
Resources for employees include the Employee Assistance Program (845 257-2886).