NY College Moves Murderer’s Oration Online After Community Backlash

(Photo by Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images)

Devan Bugbee Contributor
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After two weeks of backlash, SUNY Brockport announced last Wednesday that an event featuring convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim has been moved online.

In an event update, college President Heidi Macpherson notes that the decision to move the event titled “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim” was made due to “security concerns.” (RELATED: University Allows Students To Skip Classes For Event Featuring Convicted Cop Killer)

“We are engaging with key partners to build a plan that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty, staff and campus guests,” Macpherson said. “With that goal in mind, we have decided to move this event to a virtual format.”

These concerns follow the backlash SUNY Brockport received from its community and beyond, voicing disapproval of Muntaqim being labeled a “political prisoner.”

Muntaqim, born Anthony Bottom, joined the Black Panther Party at 16, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. He was convicted in 1974 for murdering two NYC police officers three years prior, and spent nearly 50 years in prison.

After he was released, he was almost sent back to prison for voter fraud allegations, the outlet continues.

“This was just a slap in the face to all of our families who have lost a loved one to the violence,” former police chief of Gates, N.Y., James Vanbrederode told Rochester First. “What’s the body count have to be before it’s life in prison?”

SUNY Brockport administration has stated that it will not be funding the convicted murderer’s visit to the college. While initially paying Muntaqim through a Promoting Excellence in Diversity (PED) grant, Damita Davis, chief diversity officer, announced that it had rescinded all payment meant for their speaker.

The college has also taken steps to distance itself from the “political prisoner” label.

“SUNY Brockport does not recognize or endorse the characterization of the speaker as a ‘political prisoner’ yet respects the faculty member’s right to characterize him as such,” Linda M. Delene, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said in another update. The same update also revealed that he was labeled as such by Dr. Rafael Outland from the Department of Counselor Education.

The online lecture is scheduled to take place on April 6.