President Gould apologies

Our Bklyn Events blog commentary is that you grow from your failures and reevaluations. Some one that never apologizes or admits there wrong never grows and is nonobjective and possibly delusional. No one is perfect. Some companies have a preference for hiring some that admit they failed and grew before verse idealist resumes and interviews. We commend the following letter sent to Brooklyn College students.
Statement of President Gould regarding the February 7, 2013 BDS Forum

Last summer, I had the opportunity to meet with Melanie Goldberg, Michael Ziegler, and Ari Ziegler, who, along with Yvonne Juris, were students at Brooklyn College who were forced to leave the BDS event sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club and held in the Student Center on February 7, 2013. While I had expressed my regrets to the students in person and in individual letters to them, I wish to publicly apologize on behalf of Brooklyn College to Melanie, Michael, Ari and Yvonne over the treatment they received.

The students were removed from the event based upon allegations by Carlos Guzman, an event organizer not affiliated with Brooklyn College, that the students were being disruptive and passing out flyers. As I stated last spring in a campus-wide communication, based upon the findings of a two-month CUNY investigation of what occurred and interviews with more than 40 witnesses, Mr. Guzman’s allegations proved to be false. The CUNY investigation concluded that “there was no justification for the removal of the four students.” Melanie, Michael, Ari and Yvonne had every right to retain the papers they were holding and to remain at the event, as they had not done anything to give rise to a reasonable belief that a disturbance was about to erupt.

The CUNY report stated that a plausible inference could be drawn that Mr. Guzman was motivated by political viewpoint inasmuch as he was apparently aware of the views of Melanie Goldberg from a prior event sponsored by the same student club. The CUNY report went on to state that it could not draw that inference with sufficient confidence to make a definitive finding. I was not present at the event. However, it seems to me likely that Mr. Guzman sought the removal of these four students from the event because they held viewpoints contrary to those being promoted by the SJP.

The CUNY report also concluded that administrators and public safety officers on site deferred to Mr. Guzman, rather than determining independently if the students had disrupted the event. Deferring to Mr. Guzman’s assessment was clearly wrong, and I have conveyed this judgment to the administrators involved in the incident.

Regrettably, without independent verification of what actually occurred, the Brooklyn College spokesperson released an erroneous statement to the press after the BDS event, about the removal of the four students. The college spokesperson told some reporters that the four students were being disruptive, which turned out to be false.

In the aftermath of the BDS forum and the CUNY report, members of the college administration, the Policy Council, and student government leaders worked extensively to develop and institutionalize new policies and guidelines for the management of public events hosted by student clubs, in order to ensure that such a situation does not occur again. The new policies and guidelines for student-hosted events address event planning, registration, press access, and administrative oversight and responsibility. Beginning with the fall 2013 semester, these new policies and guidelines for student club events are fully operational and can be accessed on the following websites:

Since its founding in 1930, Brooklyn College has excelled at providing a high-quality, affordable education to students of diverse backgrounds. The remarkable diversity of our student body, faculty, and staff is in fact one of our most important assets, and we celebrate it. The diversity of our community means, of course, that there will be diversity of viewpoints about a wide range of issues and topics, some of which may be highly controversial. At all times, and however much we disagree with one another, we must be a place where every member of our community – students, faculty, and staff – feels welcome and is treated with dignity, regardless of his or her background, beliefs or faith. Brooklyn College is an institution committed to fostering an engaged and civil learning environment where all views may be expressed without fear of intimidation or reprisal. Brooklyn College will not tolerate any form of discrimination, including among others, discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or age. We will be steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all events on our campus transpire in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect.


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