Message from University Leaders Regarding the Posse Program
In a message sent today to Posse Program participants, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Maurice Harris, Associate Provost for Academic Programs Andria Costello Staniec and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid Ryan Williams announced changes regarding the University’s participation in the Posse Program.
The full text of the message is below:
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014
Dear Syracuse University Community:
During the past 10 days there has been concern expressed by some members of the campus community regarding our commitment to a program that recruits and supports students from diverse backgrounds.
As leaders who formulate and implement Syracuse’s wide range of recruitment activities that support diverse educational opportunities here, today we want to reaffirm that the University’s commitment to inclusivity and opportunity is strong and will be sustained.
Based on the recent concerns expressed, Chancellor Syverud and Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina asked us to examine the proposed changes in the Posse Program, which recruits and prepares students from urban areas to attend participating colleges and universities. The changes were intended to ensure that all of our recruitment, financial aid and support programs that enhance our diversity along multiple dimensions are strong and sustainable over the long term.
Overall, Syracuse University is a national leader among private universities in providing opportunity to all: in the Fall 2014 entering class of 3,463 students, 28.3 percent (980 students) are students of color, approximately 16 percent (555 students) are first-generation college-going, and 26.6 percent (782 students) are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. It is these students, and indeed all of our entering students, who we must ensure are well-supported, retained through graduation and successfully achieve good outcomes in the job market or their pursuit of graduate school.
The proposed changes would have focused our new Posse efforts on Miami in the coming year rather than a total of three cities. Importantly, the University planned and budgeted for a new Posse initiative in 2015 focused on student veterans, a growing area of interest for the Posse Foundation. Given Syracuse’s history and national visibility in supporting and assisting military veterans, and with the tremendous diversity in the military, this new program seemed a natural and successful fit and would have meshed two key strengths of Syracuse. Unfortunately, the Posse Foundation has already committed to other institutions for Veterans Posses for Fall 2015 and was not able to accommodate Syracuse.
With this in mind, and after our careful review and consideration, the University has revised the previous proposed changes to result in the following:
• Syracuse will continue to support a Miami-based Posse Program serving 10 new students.
• Since the University had planned and budgeted to host a veterans-related Posse Program in 2015, we will partner with the Posse Foundation and support 10 students via an Atlanta-based Posse Program for one more year.
• While we will not host a new Posse from Los Angeles in 2015, the University’s commitment to Southern California and its high-quality, diverse student populations will be sustained going forward, as will recruiting initiatives, robust academic programming and integrated alumni activities.
• Rather than partner with an external organization in both Atlanta and Los Angeles over the long term, we will enhance our recruiting efforts for a highly inclusive student cohort from both regions. Our goal is to ensure that the very healthy pipelines from Atlanta and Los Angeles to Syracuse continue to be strengthened and deepened.
• In the coming months, we will personally work with the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Provost, University leadership, trustees, alumni and friends in each of the dynamic cities of Atlanta, Los Angeles and Miami to further develop and recruit an outstanding set of diverse students.
• In keeping with our desire to engage student veterans in similar ways, we intend to pursue a new recruitment, support and retention program focused on student veterans. We will be working with Vice Chancellor for Veterans and Military Affairs Mike Haynie and other leaders at the University to design and establish this program.
We want to again assure you that our commitment to providing educational opportunities for a diverse student body is strong. As the Chancellor has made clear, Syracuse University is now and will remain a leader and a model for access and for programs that support academic excellence among a strong, vibrant and diverse student body.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions
Andria Costello Staniec
Associate Provost for Academic Programs
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid