Students Continue Occupation Over University’s Failures To Address Racist Incidents
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.
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.
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 National Council of Teachers of English Committee Against Racism & Bias in Teaching of English stands in solidarity with @NotAgainSU. Go to https://t.co/ZPg1dpuHBJ to read the statement, written with @NotAgainSU. #CARBTE pic.twitter.com/RUqHPcB8jo
— Keith Newvine (@konewvine) November 22, 2019
The #NotAgainSU students released a crime log today detailing the treatment they have received from campus police.
As the Crouse-Hinds occupation continues, the Department of Public Safety and administration has become increasingly violent. To hold them accountable for their actions, #NotAgainSU is releasing a Daily Crime Log for February 18. #NotAgainSU #FreeCrouse pic.twitter.com/ujluva1KGs
— #NOTAGAINSU (@notagain_su) February 19, 2020
The students also organized an evening forum to counter the University’s framing of the protest.
As clearly depicted at the University Senate meeting, Chancellor Syverud and the rest of the administration are constantly spreading a false narrative. #NotAgainSU would like to invite students, faculty, administration, and community members to a forum. We will be Skyping in. pic.twitter.com/g1CYraKXIz
— #NOTAGAINSU (@notagain_su) February 20, 2020
Graduate students are organizing a strike in support of the students.
Grad students are calling for a strike until suspensions are lifted and the students of #NotAgainSU receive UNRESTRICTED access to supplies.
If you are a GTA, RA or NTT faculty at SU, please sign and circulate: https://t.co/QgvKMFutAO
— Andy Ridgeway (@ResistanceRhet) February 19, 2020
Supporters are urging people to contact the trustees.
Looks like there are 44 voting trustees at SU:https://t.co/PyjxbjB5mQ
It @notagain_su students decide to call/email/etc them as Admin continues ignoring, I will sign up to call and speak with all of them and I’m sure many online who support their movement would too#NotAgainSU
— JustMe (@Just_Me_Gi) February 20, 2020
And there is a petition on ColorOfChange.org.
Sign here to tell the administration @SyracuseU to protect @notagain_su protestors, not the students who commit hate crimes. #Syracuse #NotAgainSU #NotAgainSUspended https://t.co/S3LVqHrC53 pic.twitter.com/gQDhVWzqio
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) February 20, 2020