SUNY Brockport officials confirmed Tuesday the state will not be paying speaking fees for the event, but they added a private donor has stepped up to pay the 70-year-old parolee for his appearance.
College officials say Bottom was invited to speak at the school by Dr. Raphael Outland, of the department of counselor education. The school also said they do not support categorizing Bottom as a “political prisoner,” as event organizers originally described him, yet they respect the right of faculty members to call him such.
Brockport did say if the event proceeds in person, there may be a large number of police officers on campus. Some the school said could be “traumatizing” for some students. The college is giving students an option to skip classes on April 6th due to “personal safety concerns.”
Some state Republican lawmakers Tuesday from across New York called for Bottom’s engagement to be pulled, the latest in a string of lawmakers asking the school to do so, including :
- Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square)
- Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R-South Shore)
- Assemblyman Joe Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich)
- Richie Wells – President, Police Conference of New York
- Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R,C-Staten Island/Brooklyn)
- Assemblyman Keith Brown (R,C,I-Northport)
- Assemblyman Michael Lawler (R,C,I,SAM-Pearl River)
- Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-1st Senate District)
SUNY Brockport says this event is about exercising academic freedom, and they are committed to the expression of various viewpoints. The full letter from the interim provost is below: