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Free Speech and Civility

September 9, 2021

To the Campus Community, 

One of the great joys of being part of a university community is experiencing the energy, enthusiasm, and insights of those who passionately express their positions on our diverse campus. This open exchange of ideas and perspectives is key to the university experience, because it is one of the ways that we learn to think critically and reconsider our basic assumptions. After more than a year of primarily virtual engagement, the moment has come to remind ourselves of our responsibilities as a public university to support academic freedom and freedom of expression.

Stony Brook University is dedicated to open inquiry, knowledge, and insight. As such, free speech and peaceful assembly are fundamental to our mission. True freedom of expression demands that we acknowledge the rights of others to hold and express beliefs different from our own.

So often this is easier said than done. Inevitably we will encounter speech we believe to be abhorrent, biased, or false. In keeping with our mission and values, we have the right to meet such expressions with a clear and persuasive response, but never with acts that restrain the speech of others.

Our Statement of Community clearly articulates our shared responsibility: "In committing ourselves to study and work at Stony Brook, we agree to promote equality, civility, caring, responsibility, accountability, and respect. We also recognize the importance of understanding and appreciating our differences and similarities."

The resources listed here set forth University policies and information that pertain to free speech and expression. The Frequently Asked Questions page on our dedicated “Free Speech” website offers further guidance. If you have additional questions, I invite you to direct them to

Stony Brook is a large, complex, diverse and dynamic public university. We come here with widely different backgrounds, talents, perspectives and interests, but we have one thing in common: the drive to use our knowledge to make a real difference in the world. Let's continue working together to create a strong and united Stony Brook community.


mcinnis signature

Maurie McInnis


For those who may need guidance, resources or want to talk through these issues with advisors or professional counselors, listed below are just some of the services available to the SBU community.


Student Support Team
(631) 632-7320
Student Activities Center, Room 222

Office of Student Life
(631) 632-9912
Stony Brook Union, Suite 205

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
(631) 632-6720
Student Health & Counseling Center, 2nd Floor
CAPS After Hours (24/7)
(631) 632-6720, option 2


Employee Assistance Program
N116A Social & Behavioral Sciences
(631) 632-6085

University Ombuds Office
137 Psychology B Building
(631) 632-9200

Human Resources

HRS (West Campus and HSC)
(631) 632-6151
Administration, Room 390

HR - Hospital
31 Research Way, Suite 200
(631) 444-4700

HR - Long Island State Veterans Home
100 Patriots Road
(631) 444-8617