Syracuse University

Syracuse University Student’s Demand Change After Multiple Racist Incidents On Campus

Syracuse University is making headlines for all the wrong reasons this week. Four students from the upstate New York University have been suspended for being involved in a racially motivated verbal assault directed towards an African-American student last week, according to Syracuse’s Chancellor Kent Syverud. According to the Chancellor’s statement, a total of fourteen individuals were involved in the incident, however, nine weren’t even Syracuse students, but “appropriate discipline” has been taken on all fourteen students involved from their schools. 

“The entire case has also been referred to the Onondaga County District Attorney. The New York State Police’s hate crimes task force has been partnering with us and we’re working with the New York State Division of Human Rights on this matter.” Syverud also addressed another incident in his statement involving white supremacist content being Air Dropped to various students in the school’s Bird Library.”To date, law enforcement has not been able to locate a single individual who directly received an Air Drop. Not one. It was apparent that this rumor was probably a hoax, but that reality was not communicated clearly and rapidly enough to get ahead of escalating anxiety.”

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This is not the University’s first instance of offensive and racially charged attacks on minority students. In fact, CNN reports that a total of 12 different incidents of racist and anti-semetic graffiti has been found on Syracuse’s campus within the past few years. In Syverud’s address on this issue, he spoke from personal experience of the racially motivated hate that him and his family endured while living in the South; stating that his kids were threatened, their car tires were slashed on multiple occasions, and it even went as far as some racist individuals shooting their family dog. 

“This is Syracuse. This is 2019. I do not accept this hatred here and now, this is not who Syracuse is at its best, and is not who we can let ourselves become. We just cannot let our students of color, our Jewish students, our Asian students, or any of our students, faculty and staff, be afraid on this campus because of who they are,” Syverud added.

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The students themselves had seemingly had enough of empty promises and lacking policies that haven’t prevented any of the incidents within the past from occurring. In a community forum regarding this issue this past Wednesday, students performed a group walk out after Syverud said he couldn’t promise that the student’s 18 short-term and long-term demands for change would be met right away. While Syverud did state that the demands would need some time, that wasn’t enough for the students, who after enduring 12 separate incidents, have rightfully had enough. 

The demands regarded how the University needs to change in regards to how they handle these racial incidents. CNN reports that the demands included required diversity training for all staff members, a new online housing system in which the students could connect with each other and select their roommates based on mutual interests and racial identities. Additionally, the biggest demand called for the creation of a curriculum that would “educate the entire campus on diversity issues, specifically anti-racism being the focus,” the curriculum would also call for the allocation of $1 million for the creation. Compared to the budget a private university has annually and the high tuition price for Syracuse, $1 million really isn’t as large as it seems. 

Syverud’s response to these demands in his speech regarding the incidents stated that he couldn’t fully agree to all the terms until he discussed them with the Board of Trustees and gained clarification on certain items. The students, however, felt they were perfectly clear in what they were asking for, igniting a chant of “Sign or Resign” after Syverud’s response. However, Syverud continued in his speech once the student’s exited the forum to protest, stating that he had agreed to most of the demands already and did sign off. He also presented data and information to the remainder of the forum on how the University plans to respond and incorporate the demands into the future curriculum and policy making for the University. 

Syracuse University

Indigenous Students At Syracuse To Celebrate Native Cultures At Fashion Show

For Native American Heritage Month each year, the Indigenous Students at Syracuse plan events such as film screenings, panels and guest speakers to celebrate their culture. This year, the group is hosting a fashion show to highlight native cultures through clothing and art, said A’ngelee Clause, the creative director for the organization.

The Indigenous Runway Fashion Show will take place at Skybarn on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. The idea to put on a fashion show came from Clause, who’s from the Tuscarora Turtle Clan of Western New York. Clause is involved with other fashion shows and wanted to see how her own culture could be interpreted into a fashion show, she said. All the clothing worn by the models will be provided by the organization.

Clause said it’s important for ISAS to bring attention to important pieces of indigenous culture. With it being Native American Heritage History Month, she said it’s the perfect time to educate the Syracuse community about the culture that surrounds them.

A’ngelee Clause is is the creative director for the Indigenous Students at Syracuse, the organization that’s putting on the fashion show. Corey Henry | Photo Editor

“I think it’s really important for the native communities to really be showcased and broadcasted, especially in this time of year,” Clause said.

Clause said that a lot of the organization’s events are primarily attended by club members. While the group has a tight network, its audience becomes limited, Clause said. She said it’s important for SU students to understand native culture at and around SU.

The Indigenous Runway Fashion Show will feature traditional regalia, as well as more contemporary clothing from native designers. The contrast between the two different styles of clothing represents how indigenous individuals hold onto their tradition and culture but also live modern lives, said Maris Jacobs, co-president of ISAS.

The students running the fashion show said they hope that the event will be educational for people that do not know much about indigenous cultures. Jacob said she hopes that non-indigenous students can learn about who indigenous people really are and that the show will clear up misconceptions people may have about them.

Indigenous Students at Syracuse is hosting a fashion show that will feature both traditional and modern Indigenous clothing. Corey Henry | Photo Editor

“A lot of people have really negative stereotypes that go along with what being a native person means, and it’s difficult to have those conversations with people that might have misconceptions of who we are,” Jacobs said.

Logan Booth, a student from the Seneca Nation, said she wants to share her pride of being a native student with the Syracuse community through the fashion show. She hopes people’s main takeaway is indigenous students are still part of the SU community and proud of where they come from.

“We’re still proud of our culture. We still have our culture intact even though, in the past, there’s been a lot of things that have brought our people a lot of trauma and a lot of doubts about our identity,” said Booth.

One of the long-term goals of the event is to create connections between indigenous and non-indigenous students, Jacobs said. She said she hopes the fashion show can highlight indigenous students and bring more representation onto SU’s campus.


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