A controversial free-speech legislation proposal from the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government has been withdrawn, according to a Thursday statement from Student Body President Michael Hernández.
Hernández co-authored the legislation, which has spurred conversations around free speech in USG. Now, Hernández says the legislation does not align with USG’s priorities for the last few weeks of the spring 2021 semester.
“While the authors and I remain committed to the principles of free expression, this legislation is not spurring the type of productive conversation that we had hoped,” reads Hernández’s statement.
This update comes on the heels of the resignation of Chief Diversity Officer-elect B Diaz, who stepped down from their position Wednesday. In a statement, Diaz cited online harassment as the reason for the resignation.
“Over this last week, I have received numerous hateful comments written by anonymous accounts with the sole intention of attacking my character and disrupting my campaign,” reads Diaz’s statement. “These messages consisted of BLATANT LIES with apparent malicious intent that violates the Undergraduate Student Elections’ spirit.”
Hernández acknowledged this harassment in the statement withdrawing the legislation.
“I’m also aware of the recent rise in intolerance and online harassment, particularly towards CDO-elect B Diaz. I condemn these acts in the strongest terms,” reads Hernández’s statement.
Hernández said USG should be looking inward in the coming weeks.
“I also believe now is the time to have a serious conversation about healing within our organization,” reads Hernández statement.
“Free speech is both a cherished right and a daunting responsibility. It is upsetting to me that an alarming number of community members have abused and in some cases overstepped the boundaries of their free speech rights.”