The Office of the President
June 12, 2020

Dear Student Association President Ortega, Brandon Gonzalez and Eusebio Omar van Reenen,

Thank you for your peaceful protest action and recent Student Association (SA) communication dated June 12, 2020 calling for positive change and reform. Relative to the letter addressed to me as president of SUNY Oswego, we accept your letter and affirm that we will work with you as addressed in each of your requests below.

Over the past two years, we have accomplished much working together with our students toward ensuring our campus operates in all matters with equity and justice.  While we have not and will never consider this to be work that is done or completed, thanks to your input and perspectives we have implemented the use of body cameras by University Police, improved our bias related reporting system, removed unnecessary fees that created economic barriers, strengthened the relationships and representation of students on committees, and established an ongoing commitment to improving our community relations and culture. 

We will continue to stand together to root out racism and enact positive change for our community. As such, please find our enumerated responses below. 

  1. Upon the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act being passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature on June 8, 2020, SUNY Oswego and the University Police (UP) amended its policy (Section 300 3.4) by removing the use of carotid controls / “chokeholds” from its handbook.

  2. While our faculty develop and enact curriculum, I will ask them to designate a pilot course or courses in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that will be offered as early as this fall 2020, if feasible. Also, I have asked Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Scott Furlong to work with the General Education Council of the Faculty Assembly to implement the general education requirements related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that are now being proposed by our faculty.

  3. Additionally, Vice President Furlong is working closely with the Department of Criminal Justice to assess and ensure there is material infused throughout criminal justice courses related to institutional and systemic racism.

  4. We unequivocally support free speech. The principles of free speech and expression are fundamental to an open society. While some ideas and opinions are vastly different from our own and may be offensive to what we think and believe, I strongly encourage all to rebut expressions of others with their own words and voices.  Further, I will use my voice to express my beliefs and discredit certain views even while I must allow others to speak. However, any speech or symbolic speech which threatens or produces violence or any unlawful behavior will not be tolerated.

  5. In regard to a system of reporting bias related incidents, the college has already put in place several avenues for reporting incidents of bias or concern. You may find them at or at  Moving forward, the college will enhance the promotion of its system of reporting through pervasive social media avenues.

  6. The college will recognize and celebrate Black Solidarity Day, and I will request that the Calendar Committee of the Faculty Assembly review policies related to tests/exams/attendance on Black Solidarity Day. 

  7. In regard to the flag resolution, I have asked the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Rodmon King to provide an update to the campus on the work of the Flag Committee by June 30, 2020 and to complete the flag policy by August 1, 2020.

  8. While waiting for the Flag Committee to issue its report, we will proudly accept the Black Lives Matter flag on June 14, 2020 for the purpose of flying it on the SUNY Oswego campus.   

Across the nation, people of color and their allies are mobilizing to address structural and systemic racism. I pledge to you that SUNY Oswego will live its educational mission to the fullest, and with deep commitment and understanding, we will be unwavering in pursuing justice, equality and peace. We will not rest.  I hear you, I am listening to you, I stand with you.

Respectfully … your ally,

Deborah F. Stanley
SUNY Oswego



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