Dear Parents and Families: I am writing this afternoon to share the below message with you, which was sent to your students a short time ago. As noted below, we’ve been working hard to create safe alternatives to the typical…
Fast Facts About the Protest Activity
- As Chancellor Syverud has said, the University supports the students who are making their voices heard and speaking out on issues that are important to them.
- University leadership has continued to negotiate in good faith, offering a number of very substantive actions that can be implemented right away (see list below).
- The Chancellor’s Executive Team, who can directly address key issues of concern, have been made available to students a number of times.
- The hope is to move to a new phase in this process, one that is sustainable and can produce positive change over the long term.
- Since THE General Body first entered Crouse-Hinds Hall on Monday, Nov. 3, University leadership and Chancellor Syverud have taken a number of good-faith steps (see list below).
- University College Dean Bea González has been designated by Chancellor Syverud to serve as the liaison with the students.
The impact on classes and University operations
- Crouse-Hinds Hall is an active, working University building that is home to classrooms, offices and admission tours at least six days a week.
- It is not currently, nor has it ever been, a space designed for overnight sleeping or other similar activities.
- Although our students are in the building by choice and can leave at any time, the University has a responsibility to ensure that the space is safe and supervised.
- The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the most well-equipped resource on campus to ensure this space remains safe and supervised.
- DPS is continually monitoring the space to ensure safety of everyone.
- Students have never been “locked in” the building; however, they are not able to enter the building after hours.
- DPS is ensuring that classes and other activities are not disrupted and that students not participating in the protest are not inconvenienced as they attend class and study.
- DPS is also there to ensure the safety of students in the event of a medical emergency and is working with the Fire Marshall to ensure all fire codes are followed.
- By checking SU I.D.s, DPS is ensuring that at night only SU students are present and that non-University-related individuals are not in the building.
- DPS has not touched or physically moved any of the students.
- Upgrades and work to the exterior of Crouse-Hinds Hall was underway prior to Monday, Nov. 3, when students first entered the building. This work will continue despite the protest activity in building. A safety fence is required to be placed around the area where work is being done.
Actions the University is prepared to implement to address the students’ concerns
- Opening a one-month period for additional feedback from the entire campus community regarding the University’s vision and mission statements.
- 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 a psychiatric nurse practitioner 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.
List of good-faith actions University leadership and Chancellor Syverud have already taken
- Holding a nearly 90-minute meeting the evening of Monday, Nov. 3, 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, Nov. 5, 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, Nov. 8.
- 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, Nov. 9, for a chaplain to visit students at Crouse-Hinds Hall despite the building being closed.
- Holding a four-hour meeting on Sunday, Nov. 9, with the students and Provost Eric Spina and Senior Vice President Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz.
- Providing three written responses to the group’s evolving list of Demands and Solutions.
- Holding a two-hour meeting on Monday, Nov. 10, with the students and Provost Eric Spina, Senior Vice President Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz and Dean González.