An article in the November 17 issue of the Equinox concerning Keene State College’s inclusion on a list of institutions as a result of the College’s policies on discrimination and discriminatory harassment has prompted our response. We, like our colleagues across the College’s administration, faculty, and staff, fully support and vigorously defend our students’ right to freedom of expression in all that they do: academically, artistically, and socially. And likewise, we deplore any act that rises to the level of discrimination or harassment of any individual based on his or her race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, disability, or participation in any protected activity. These two dynamics, the defense of freedom of expression, and the protection from discrimination and harassment, must both be pursued in earnest to effect the kind of community that we aspire to be: safe, welcoming, inclusive, and supportive of our students’ success.
It is also important for us to remind the Keene State College community that, not only are we deeply engaged in promoting our students’ rights, but also in including them in the process of developing policies that affect them. The College actively seeks out the perspectives and ideas surrounding the development of policy and takes the input of students very seriously. These policies are reflective of the many state laws, case law, policies, and federal laws from which they are derived and that also seek to protect access to freedom of expression and protection from discrimination.
For these reasons, to be tagged as an institution that limits freedom of speech is all the more disappointing in light of the effort we expend to protect the rights of our students and to encourage them to engage in open, honest, and respectful discourse with each other, and in the communities in which they participate.
We encourage our students to reach out to advisors, the Office of Diversity and Multiculturalism, or other trusted College employees should there be any questions or concerns in the future.
Best wishes for the remainder of the fall semester.
Special Assistant to the President for Human Resources
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Chief Officer for Diversity and Multiculturalism