Solidarity with our Trans Community

Published March 8, 2023

LGBT Progressive Flag.

Dear UBSSW community,

As you are likely aware, ultra-right political figure Michael Knowles has been invited to speak on campus tomorrow by the Young Americans for Freedom student chapter. I share in your deep outrage over this situation and denounce his repugnant comments toward the trans community.

In the School of Social Work, we uphold the values of our profession and honor the inherent dignity, rights and strengths of all individuals and communities. We support our LGBTQ+ community members and stand with them today — and every day — as we strive to build a safe and inclusive environment for all.

As President Tripathi expressed in his university-wide communication, “Hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric is an affront to everything our community embraces. To all those who are disenfranchised, marginalized and persecuted, including our transgender community, please know that we support you, and we will continue to uphold UB’s cherished values of diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that the university remains a safe and welcoming place for you.”

Knowles’ speech may be protected by the First Amendment, but so is ours. Members of our Graduate Student Association are organizing a peaceful protest to stand against hate speech, violent rhetoric, transphobia, racism and all other forms of oppression. Faculty have been facilitating necessary conversations in the classroom, and our Student Services team has been connecting with students and will hold space for them tomorrow evening to gather and support each other.

Right now, our community is hurting, but know that our pursuit of racial and social justice remains as strong as ever. Again, we express solidarity with our trans and gender-nonconforming community members. As social workers, our commitment to the worth and dignity of humankind will never waver in the face of bigotry and hate.


Keith A. Alford, PhD, ACSW
Dean and Professor
University at Buffalo School of Social Work

Student Resources

Resources are available should you wish to talk. Please contact our Student Services team or connect with UB Counseling Services by stopping in during office hours or calling 716-645-2720. UB's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Intercultural and Diversity Center can also offer support.