Students Continue Occupation Over University’s Failures To Address Racist Incidents

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Above photo: Supporters crowd the doors to get supplies to the students inside. From CitrusTV Twitter.

Syracuse, NY – Students with #NotAgainSU, a movement that formed in response to racist and hate incidents on campus that the university has not adequately addressed, have been occupying the administrative building on campus since Monday afternoon. The University responded harshly, cutting off their access to food and supplies and suspending them Monday night. [Breaking: The University lifted the suspensions Wednesday evening] Campus police are also treating them harshly.

CNN reports:

A spate of bias incidents beginning in November 2019 helped spur #NotAgainSU’s first protests. Following those protests, Syracuse administration released a list of commitments in response to the demands of protestors.

“Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees have been working respectfully and collaboratively over the last several months to effect urgent, lasting and meaningful change,” according to the university’s statement.

#NotAgainSU says they believe that the university’s current administration has been complacent in the spreading of white nationalistic ideology. The group’s recent demands include punishments for students involved in bias incidents, the creation of more diversity initiatives and the resignation of administrators for their response to the incidents. If the administrators don’t resign by February 21, the student group says, “escalated action will take place.”

The student-group has not yet elaborated on what “escalated action” entails.

and

There have been six reported bias incidents since the spring semester started on January 13, according to the Syracuse Department of Public Safety bias incident report page.

The most recent reported incident involved a driver shouting a racial slur out their vehicle toward two students on February 8. Other reported incidents similarly involved verbal harassment and racist graffiti directed toward black and Jewish students.

The students continue to hold space in the administration building. Faculty, staff, alumni and students published a statement opposing the University’s strong-arm tactics today, writing in part:

We vigorously oppose the university choosing the nuclear option of invoking and applying a disruption policy and suspending students.  Suspending students, many of whom are students of color, does nothing to improve campus climate and promises of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  The university can hire all the diversity consultants it wants, hold all the fora and talk-back sessions it wants on these topics, but the proof of commitment to change comes from listening to critiques, supporting peaceful protests, negotiating solutions and ideas with protesters and other concerned parties (even when both parties disagree), and standing down on invoking and enforcing disruption policies.

They also received a statement of support from the National Council of Teachers of English Committee Against Racism and Bias in Teaching of English.

The #NotAgainSU students released a crime log today detailing the treatment they have received from campus police.

The students also organized an evening forum to counter the University’s framing of the protest.

Graduate students are organizing a strike in support of the students.

Supporters are urging people to contact the trustees.

And there is a petition on ColorOfChange.org.

  • voza0db

    Another occupy failure… modern slaves are unable to learn!

  • kevinzeese

    Bravo to the students for fighting for their rights against an administration that seems tone deaf to racial discrimination.

    It is only by taking action that change will come.

    The over-reaction of the university is a sign that the students are having an impact.

    Don’t give up. The longer this campaign continues, the bigger it will become and the more attention you will get, and the more pressure on the university to prosecute these racist attacks.

  • kevinzeese

    The usual negativity for voza0db who lives the life of a defeatist. It must be very sad feeling so powerless that you cannot take any positive action. Pitiful. I hope people are not infecting by his negativy, but instead catch the catigion of courage from these students.

  • voza0db

    I gave the other day a good and positive solution to this problem…