The College of Staten Island respects and supports the right of students to express their beliefs freely in a public forum. This is a protection guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Recognizing that there has recently been much emotionally charged debate locally, across the nation, and around the world regarding religion and race, the College continues to believe in the value of students engaging in free exchange in order to learn from one anothers’ differences, in the context of our shared values of mutual respect, open-mindedness, and compassion.

Although we respect free speech as a right, we are sensitive to the pain that words can sometimes cause and the anguish being experienced by many members of our College community in light of recent events and current debates about those events. In this spirit, the Office of Student and Enrollment Services will be announcing upcoming opportunities for discussion and reflection. Such opportunities will be announced early in the spring semester.

As a public institution of higher education in New York City, we have a responsibility to protect the rights of all students, faculty, and staff. To ensure that CSI remains a center of positive intellectual and cultural exchange, it is imperative that each individual within the community can experience the campus as a safe place. Accordingly, while the College will continue to promote the exchange of ideas and differing viewpoints, actions that violate CUNY’s Policy on Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination will not be tolerated.

Let us all commit together in these trying times to maintaining the atmosphere of civility and mutual respect that has long been a hallmark of the College of Staten Island.