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A Message From President Riley on Denouncement of Bigotry and Campus Safety Security

Unfortunately, and regrettably, acts of racism, hatred, bigotry, and discrimination pervade our society.

In recent days here in New York City, we have witnessed incidents being played out on television and often, in our communities.

At SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, we strongly condemn any such acts as they have no place on our campus in Brooklyn, New York City, in our state, nor in this country.

Downstate regards anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts as reprehensible and unacceptable.

Moreover, we will not tolerate actions comprising the diversity on our campus that we have come to cherish, respect, and enjoy. More importantly, we denounce any threats to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and those we serve.

Downstate is an academic institution with a rich array of cultures, religions, ethnicities, political persuasions, and other demographics. Even further, there are subcultures within cultures, sects within religions, and individuals of every race and ethnic culture studying, working, and receiving care at our institution. This diversity is what makes Downstate unique to just about any other academic health center in this country. Moreover, diversity at Downstate augments the educational quality of our healthcare and public health programs while also yielding various viewpoints that may otherwise go untapped. Therefore, we embrace our diversity with great appreciation.

Free speech is a hallmark of the academe where institutional constituents can openly express themselves without fear of reprisal or censorship. Disagreements are commonplace. However, doing so in a “disagreeable”, harsh, or demeaning manner is unprofessional and patently inappropriate. This also applies to messages via social media platforms and/or via email.

At Downstate, we encourage students, faculty, and staff to exercise their First Amendment rights with respect for others, including those with whom we may disagree. “Respect” is an intentionally recurring theme in our various handbooks at Downstate, serving as constant reminders to ponder how, when, and where we express ourselves.

Downstate remains steadfastly committed to inclusive excellence in every aspect of the institution and pledge support to each member of our community positively, regardless of religion, culture, creed, national origin, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or beliefs.

I encourage each member of the Downstate community to review your respective handbook (e.g., students, faculty, or staff), paying particular attention to our codes of conduct/policies on professionalism and the sections on actions and progressive discipline at the institution's disposal for those who violate these policies.

Downstate is a safe place where there have been no reports of such acts—we will take every measure to ensure the safety of all our constituents.

If you feel unsafe, experience acts of harassment, discrimination, or observe vandalism on the campus:

  • DO immediately call University Police at X2626 or 911 if there are any safety threats to you or your fellow students.
  • DO document the incident. If you discover graffiti such as anti-Semitic speech or posters, please call University Police at X2626 to file an incident report.
  • DO report the incident to a campus authority as a bias incident. Even if campus security determines that the action was not illegal, a report of the incident ensures follow-up.

Further, any individual who believes he/she has experienced discrimination should immediately contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at (718) 270-1738. You may also email ODI at AskODI@Downstate.edu.

You may also reach out to the Office of Student Life & Services at (718) 270-2187 or email studentaffairs@downstate.edu. All calls and emails are kept confidential.

If you are having difficulty and would like additional support resources, please contact the Employee Assistance Program at (718) 270-1489 or email Magda Alliancin, Ed.D. magda.alliancin@downstate.edu. All calls and emails are kept confidential.

 

Sincerely,
Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP
President