Attack on Speaker Condemned

Chancellor says campuses must welcome wide variety of views

I want to state my unequivocal position that violence and attacks on individuals are unacceptable.  I condemn the attack on our speaker by one of our students.  That student was arrested and faces several criminal charges. In addition, we suspended the student and the student will not be allowed on campus during UMKC’s investigation, which could lead to a number of sanctions including expulsion. 

My original statement may have given an indication that UMKC does not support freedom of expression for all.  I apologize if I’ve given that impression, for that was not my intention.  It is not the university’s role to take sides, but to rise to the higher principle of promoting a respectful exchange of ideas for our students to form their own views and engage in critical thinking.  And we’ll continue to promote diversity of background, experiences and perspectives, which is critically important to creating a vibrant university to advance student success, breakthrough research and meaningful engagement. 

In this case, UMKC provided the speaker a venue, as well as police protection to allow him to exercise his rights. We are very disappointed that some students’ actions overtook the respectful behavior of the majority of students who participated in campus events that night.  I want to reiterate that we do not tolerate the disruption of peaceful activities or violence of any sort and, as demonstrated by our police, we will take swift action when anyone interferes with the rights of others, including the right of free speech.  

These are the foundation of free speech that our democracy depends upon and it must be respected every day on our campus.  

Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D.
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Published: Apr 15, 2019

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