SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)- Syracuse University has been publicly riddled with bias incidents over the past ten days, with this slew starting in a freshmen dorm. Overnight between November 6th and 7th, a still unidentified person wrote anti-black and anti-Asian slurs on the 4th and 6th floors of Day Hall. Students alerted SU’s Department of Public Safety on November 7th. Two days later, DPS and Dean of Students Maryanne Thompson met with those floors about the incidents, and asked that students not discuss them with people who don’t live on those floors.
On the 11th, on-campus publication Renegade Magazine publicized the story through Instagram posts and stories. That same day, the university sent its first campus-wide email on the incident, nearly four days after it occurred. Chancellor Syverud sent out his own email the next day, expressing regret he hadn’t been more transparent in the university’s handling to that point.
The Barnes Center sit-in began on November 13th, as protest organizers took to the new multi-purpose facility and occupied the space. On that first day of the sit in, organizers created a list of 9 demands for the university, and said they would continue to sit in until November 20th at 5 pm. Student fan group Otto’s Army boycotted that night’s Syracuse-Colgate basketball game and implored students to attend the sit in.
Students woke up to an email from DPS on the 14th about anti-Asian graffiti that was discovered the previous day in the university’s physics building, which is next to the Barnes Center. That afternoon, a swastika was drawn in the snow near the 505 on walnut, a luxury student housing complex just off campus. To add to that day’s events, another piece of anti-Asian graffiti was found that evening on Day Hall’s third floor. Syverud came back to the sit in on Friday the 15th, and seemed to be receptive to the expanded list of demands. However, nothing has been committed to in writing as of yet.
Public figures such as State Senator Rachel May, Mayor Ben Walsh, and basketball coach Jim Boeheim all visited the sit in on the 16th. In addition, six distinct bias incidents were reported in just an eight hour span. The most publicly discussed of these incidents happened on College Place Saturday night, as individuals outside of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity house shouted racial epithets at a black woman walking alone. In response, that fraternity chapter has been suspended, and Syverud has cancelled all remaining fraternity social events in the fall semester.
The protest’s organizers have issued a list of 18 demands to Syverud, to which he expressed verbal support. The protesters have invited Syverud to share his written response to the list of demands on Wednesday, November 20 at 7 pm at Syracuse’s Hendricks Chapel.