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For Immediate Release
March 21, 2019

Statement from UUP President Frederick E. Kowal on President Trump’s executive order on campus free speech

“United University Professions has long been a staunch defender of free speech. As America’s largest higher education union representing more than 37,000 faculty and professional staff at the State University of New York, UUP has waged its share of battles in defending our members’ First Amendment rights over the years.

“President Trump’s executive order mandating that college campuses support free speech to continue receiving federal grants is at worst unnecessary, and at best, redundant.

“SUNY colleges and universities across New York state are already bound by the First Amendment. On our campuses, our members work to provide a safe public forum for free expression of diverse views. Freedom of expression is welcomed and encouraged. This happens on our campuses every day, without fanfare.

“However, UUP has and will continue to condemn hate speech, intolerance, and racism. This is central to our work as educators, researchers and health care providers.

“America would be better served if the president were to focus on more pressing issues with real-world implications, such as the affordability of a quality college education and working to reduce student debt.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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