An email forwarded to staff and faculty by university staff states that protests about Ronald Berkman’s reaction to discriminatory fliers were due to a misunderstanding
Following the discovery of fliers suggesting students identifying as LGBTQ should commit suicide, Ronald Berkman, university President, made a statement saying that CSU remained committed to freedom of speech on October 16th.
Berkman’s statement actually referenced the October 12th speaking appearance of a conservative individual on campus.
However, outraged students associated Berkman’s statement as a direct response to the discriminatory fliers, essentially viewing the president’s statement as a defense of whoever put the fliers up.
Administrators from CSU did not make attempts to correct the misunderstanding, even when students began actively protesting and the media questioned university staff.
University claimed two-week period of silence during protests and media backlash an “error of judgment”
Maurice Stinnett, head diversity officer at the university, actually joined students who were marching beside Berkman’s office, making a statement to the students and the media that suggested he also believed Berkman’s “free speech” response was about the fliers.
Stinnett’s statement made it clear that he would pursue action against the university administration and Berkman himself, decrying the university’s response as “inadequate” and declaring he would seek advice from community leaders about the issue.
The university later clarified that it did not believe clarifying the unfortunate issue of timing regarding Berkman’s statement would have been helpful, and thought the best strategy would be to support student advocates of LGBTQ rights.
A spokesman for the university went on to establish that Berkman had absolutely no idea about the fliers when he made the statement regarding freedom of speech and that if he had the statement would certainly have been modified.