Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community: Over the last several months, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees have engaged in constructive, collaborative and respectful dialogue. The Board of Trustees created a Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity…
Chancellor Syverud Addresses March 23 University Senate Meeting
Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud addressed the University Senate on Wednesday, March 23, in Maxwell Auditorium. In his remarks, the Chancellor provided updates on a number of items, including matters relative to diversity and inclusion, free speech and the Professor of Practice policy currently being evaluated. Chancellor Syverud delivers monthly remarks at Senate meetings to provide updates on key university initiatives. This was his third address to the University’s governing body since the start of 2016.
Below are the Chancellor’s remarks as prepared for the University Senate meeting:
Good afternoon. I will keep my remarks brief today but wanted to provide updates on the following topics:
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Free Speech
- Professors of Practice
As an update, our Provost-Designate, Dr. Michele Wheatly, will assume her new role as Vice Chancellor and Provost on May 16. She is currently immersing herself in Syracuse culture and learning about our great university.
Diversity and Inclusion
As you may have seen earlier this week, the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion released its report, which contains 33 short- and long- term recommendations aimed at creating a more diverse, inclusive, welcoming and respectful campus climate. The recommendations were developed by the workgroup after months of hearing input from University community members, meeting with stakeholders and reviewing previous work in diversity on campus.
I am grateful for the work done by the members of the Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion. The University will be stronger and better because of their collective work. I look forward to the campus community taking the time to review the report and share their thoughts and feedback.
In the fall of 2014, the Student Association (SA), the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and the Student Bar Association passed resolutions urging University leadership to consider revisions to its Computer and Electronic Policy to address concerns regarding free speech across campus.
Following their review, in February 2015, I appointed a Working Group to assess the SA, GSO and Student Bar Association concerns. That working group was chaired by David Rubin, professor of communications and dean emeritus of the Newhouse School of Public Communications. It was comprised of two students appointed by the Student Association, two students appointed by the Graduate Student Association, and one faculty and one staff member, both appointed by the University Senate.
The Working Group spent the remainder of the Spring 2015 semester and the early portion of the Fall 2016 semester conducting their work, which was fully undertaken as an independent effort free from any University administrative input or influence.
Upon receipt of the report, I shared the recommendations with:
- SU Student Association
- SU Graduate Student Association
- SU Student Bar Association
- University Senate Agenda Committee
I asked that these groups report back to me in early April with each organization’s perspectives and viewpoints on the report. I look forward to receiving those responses and plan to provide an update to you at the April Senate meeting.
Professors of Practice
On the topic of Professors of Practice, I would like to acknowledge all of the hard work undertaken by Mary Lovely and the committee. From my knowledge of deliberations on this matter from my prior institutions, I understand that there are meritorious positions on both sides of the discussion. It is my intent to listen closely. Whatever the ultimate outcome, I trust that a decision will be made that is in the best interest of our students.
Those are the items I wanted to address with you today. Thank you.