As of today, November 19, 2019, Syracuse University has experienced a recent spree of bias-related incidents across campus. The number of incidents reported within the past week has been alarming, but this does not mark the first time that SU has dealt with events like these.
In March of 2018, Syracuse University banned the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau, for using hate speech in their organization. A video of this language was leaked to the Daily Orange newspaper at SU, and the fraternity subsequently faced charges.
Months later, SU saw two more significant incidents of bias. In February of 2019, the Syracuse Police Department responded to an assault call on Ackerman Avenue where a white woman struck three people of color in the head before fleeing on foot. Students criticized the handling of the case by both the SPD and the university’s Department of Public Safety. A month later in March, students at the university’s study abroad center in Madrid reported the use of the “N-Word” by both a professor and students in the course.
The following is a list of biased related events that have happened on the Syracuse University campus since November 7, 2019.
LIST OF INCIDENTS THIS MONTH:
- Day Hall Graffiti #1 (NOVEMBER 7): Racial slurs directed towards African-American and Asian students were written in the bathrooms on floors 4 and 6 of Day Hall.
- Physics Building Graffiti (NOVEMBER 14): Racist graffiti aimed towards the Asian community was found in a bathroom in the Physics Building.
- Anti-Semitic Graffiti in Snow Outside Apartment (NOVEMBER 14): A swastika was drawn in the snow outside of the student apartment building, The 505 on Walnut, along Walnut Avenue near campus.
- Day Hall Graffiti #2 (NOVEMBER 14): More graffiti, with hateful language towards the Asian community, was found on the 3rd floor of Day Hall.
- Racist Emails Sent (NOVEMBER 16): Emails supporting the biased events on campus were sent to student leaders.
- Racial Slurs Yelled Outside Day Hall (NOVEMBER 16): A racial slur was yelled at an Asian student leaving Day Hall.
- Racist Graffiti in Haven (NOVEMBER 16): A swastika was drawn and hateful graffiti towards the Asian community was discovered in Haven Hall.
- Racial Slurs Yelled Outside Sadler Hall (NOVEMBER 16): A racial slur was yelled at an African American student outside Sadler Hall.
- African American Student Verbally Harassed (NOVEMBER 16): An African-American woman reported a large group of individuals verbally harassing her with racial slurs outside of Sims Hall.
- Day Hall Graffiti #3 (NOVEMBER 18): Racist graffiti against the African-American community was found on floor 5 of Day Hall.
- White Supremacy Manifesto (NOVEMBER 18): Late in the evening, a white supremacist manifesto was posted on a Greek Life website under a page about Syracuse University. The manifesto, which is believed to be the same manifesto used by the Christchurch shooter earlier in the year, was allegedly airdropped to students studying in Bird Library.
HOW HAS THIS AFFECTED THE SU CAMPUS:
- As a response to the biased related events on campus, both past and present, university students formed the #NotAgainSU movement. Members of the movement drafted a list of demands to be met by the university’s administration. #NotAgainSU has organized a sit-in at the Barnes Center at the Arch since November 13. and students have continuously occupied the building since the beginning of the protest.
- Otto’s Army, the student section leaders at athletic events, have boycotted every Syracuse Men’s Basketball game since the protests started.
- The Department of Public Safety has increased security measures at dorms, the Barnes Center and around campus. They have also increased hours of officer shifts.
- Campus food service cafes, such as the Newhouse school’s Food.com, have experienced a sharp decline in customer activity. Student employees of SU Food Services have also called off work since the Manifesto was shared.
- In light of the emergence of the white supremacy manifesto, several academic departments on campus have made attendance in class optional or canceled classes altogether. Some departments are bringing academic resources directly to students at the Barnes Center.
- Local politicians like Mayor Ben Walsh and New York State Senator Rachel May, visited campus to condemn racism and Anti-Semitism. The university has also received statements denouncing these hate crimes from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
- Hate Crimes on campus have received news coverage from both local outlets and national media, including CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times, as well as extensive coverage reported by student media on campus.
- Chancellor Kent Syverud banned all fraternity related social activities and events for the remainder of the semester. The chancellor has also suspended the fraternity Alpha Chi Rho after they were implicated in the verbal assault outside Sims Hall.
- Students have taken to social media to share information and provide tips to keep their peers safe.
The Syracuse Police Department, the Department of Public Safety and the FBI are continuing to investigate the recent bias related events on campus. There will be a forum to address safety and student concerns over recent issues at the Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center at SU.