This morning, only two days ahead of Michael Knowles’ University at Buffalo campus lecture, UB President Satish Tripathi sent a school-wide email condemning Knowles and the so-called “hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric” he will espouse. 

“Hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric is an affront to everything our community embraces,” the president wrote. “To all those who are disenfranchised, marginalized and persecuted, including our transgender community, please know that we support you, and we will continue to uphold UB’s cherished values of diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that the university remains a safe and welcoming place for you,” his statement continues.

Tripathi then went on to claim that he supports the principles of the First Amendment and notes that he has no legal authority to cancel the speech, “no matter how noxious the content.”

He implies that Knowles’ lecture poses a threat to the safety of “marginalized groups” on campus.

The president’s statement is blatantly hypocritical. While Tripathi claims to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, his condemnation of Michael Knowles (and, by extension, students who agree with his common-sense beliefs) shows that he only supports those who subscribe to his own leftist ideology. 

By speaking out against the event, the administrator is creating a hostile environment that encourages hatred towards conservative students. He is effectively giving the Left a green light to antagonize and attack conservatives, just as they did when Lt. Col. Allen West spoke on campus last year.

The purpose of a university is to foster open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas. Tripathi’s expectation of ideological conformity within his institution is antithetical to those principles. The University at Buffalo must uphold the First Amendment in practice, not just in theory. 

The New Guard attempted to reach the President’s Office to ask how he could claim to support free speech, diversity, and inclusion, while simultaneously slandering and condemning those who dare to have an opinion that he disagrees with. His receptionist declined to transfer the call.

Despite a growing history of violence and hatred directed at UB conservative students, the Young Americans for Freedom chapter is not to be deterred. 

“We will not back down,” Connor Ogrydziak, UB YAF chairman, told the New Guard. “Our leftist peers and administrators can use these bullying tactics against us as much as they would like. We are holding the event regardless.” He added that those who disagree with Knowles are welcome to attend the speech and engage in discussion during the question and answer session.

The free and open-to-the-public event will still take place on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM in Slee Hall.