BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson announced Wednesday that an upcoming controversial event scheduled to take place on campus has been moved to a virtual format. The change of venue for the speaking engagement—by a former Black Panther who was imprisoned for nearly 50 years for killing two New York City police officers—is designed to help “mitigate any potential security concerns,” Macpherson said.

Convicted cop-killer Jalil Muntaqim, formally known as Anthony Bottom, was due to speak at SUNY Brockport on April 6. SUNY Brockport officials have said this event is about exercising academic freedom, adding that they are committed to the expression of various viewpoints. And in a message Wednesday, Macpherson wrote:

The safety and security of our community is always our top priority. To help mitigate any potential security concerns around the Jalil Muntaqim event, we are engaging with key partners to build a plan that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty, staff and campus guests.

With that goal in mind, we have decided to move this event to a virtual format. Details for the virtual program will be shared when they are finalized.

This event has elicited strong feedback, divergent opinions, and has already spurred protests. We are grateful for the various agencies and partners who will be supporting the safety of our campus during the upcoming days and weeks.

An updated event page mentions Muntaqim’s conviction in the deaths of the two officers, which the original announcement did not. SUNY Brockport officials confirmed that the state would 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 program, “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim,” was originally described on SUNY Brockport’s website as “an intellectual conversation on his time with the Black Panthers and serving nearly 50 years as a political prisoner.” The school has since said that 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.