Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, associate professor of food studies in Falk College, was interviewed for the Syracuse.com story “Why aren’t NY farm workers in the Covid-19 vaccine line?” Minkoff-Zern, an expert on the intersections of food and social justice, comments on the…
University Leadership Engages Student Group Throughout the Weekend
This weekend, Dean of University College Bea González continued to hold meetings with representatives of THE General Body in an effort to resolve their demands.
Dean González met with student representatives for several hours on Friday night, and met with the group again for several hours on Saturday afternoon, at which time the students presented her a with new reply to the document prepared by the Chancellor’s Executive Team on Friday afternoon.
Saturday evening, she met with students again.
Sunday morning, Dean González requested Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina and Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz join her in her next scheduled meeting with the students. That meeting took place at 5 p.m. Sunday and concluded at 8:20 p.m. Another meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. today.
“This weekend the University continued to negotiate in good faith, offering a number of very substantive actions the University is prepared to implement right away. We again made available members of the Chancellor’s Executive Team who could directly address key issues of concern,” said Kevin Quinn, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs. “The students provided some helpful feedback on our proposals. We hope very soon we can move to a new phase in this process, one that is sustainable and can produce positive change over the long term.”
Among the actions the University is prepared to implement to address the students’ concerns are:
- Opening a one-month period for additional feedback from the entire campus community regarding the University’s vision and mission statements.
- Arranging a meeting between the University’s Socially Responsible Investment Matters Committee and Divest SU to share relevant information about the strategies employed in endowment investments. The endowment doesn’t directly invest in coal or fossil fuel companies and any exposure is via index funds, etc. The University is committed to working with these investment managers to minimize/eliminate this exposure. This effort mirrors a policy Stanford University announced earlier this year.
- Committing to immediately begin an inclusive search process for an ADA Coordinator with faculty, staff and student representation. Until that search is complete, an Interim ADA Coordinator is in place to investigate accessibility concerns on campus.
- Hiring an additional psychiatrist to expand overall mental health services offered at the Counseling Center.
- Working with existing committee members to thoughtfully and collaboratively add some additional student representation on various Fast Forward committees.
- Continuing to prioritize increases in the minimum graduate assistant stipend to follow this year’s 7 percent increase.
- Developing a policy communication strategy that will include broader consultation about policies and changes in policies that affect the campus community.
- Fully assessing the staffing and funding needs for the Counseling Center and developing a plan of action.
- Ensuring that the Student Association president can email the full undergraduate student body, parallel to the access the president of the Graduate Student Organization currently has.
Since THE General Body first entered Crouse-Hinds Hall on Monday, Nov. 3, University leadership and Chancellor Syverud have taken the following good-faith actions:
- Holding a nearly 90-minute meeting Monday evening with six members of the Chancellor’s Executive Team and nearly 20 student representatives.
- Appointing Dean González to serve as a liaison to the students during the ongoing conversations.
- Holding a 90-minute public meeting on Wednesday between Chancellor Syverud and 80 members of THE General Body where demands and concerns were shared.
- Offering to delay action by the Board of Trustees on the University’s mission and vision statements to allow for an additional campus comment period.
- Offering an opportunity to meet with a group of Board of Trustees members on Saturday.
- Expressing willingness by the University to sign a non-retaliation/student judicial violations commitment that would cover students who participated.
- Fulfilling a request Sunday morning for a chaplain to be able visit students at Crouse-Hinds Hall despite the building being closed.
- Making a commitment by Provost Eric Spina and Senior Vice President Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz to meet with the group as soon as possible and for as long as necessary to go through the 45-page living document point by point.
- Providing three written responses to the group’s evolving list of Demands and Solutions.