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Chancellor Syverud Recognizes Recent Achievements, Addresses Several Important Issues during October University Senate Meeting
Chancellor Kent Syverud used part of his monthly University Senate address as an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate recent accomplishments of members of the Syracuse University community. The Chancellor acknowledged the success of Family Weekend and Giving Day, the historic scientific announcement made on Oct. 16 and the awarding of the Man Booker Prize to Professor George Saunders.
Chancellor Syverud also updated the University Senate on a number of important issues, including the forthcoming economic and community impact report and the ongoing work of several committees and workgroups.
Below are the Chancellor’s remarks as prepared for the University Senate meeting:
Thank you, Ramesh. It has been an amazing week for Syracuse University. On Friday, our entire football team, led by an inspiring coach, defeated defending national champion Clemson in the Dome. Over the weekend, we welcomed 5,479 parents and family for Family weekend with many activities in every school and college, our best family weekend in many decades. On Monday, our physics department and the gravitational waves research group were center stage around the country and around the world for the observation of a neutron star collision and the discovery of how gold, platinum and other heavy elements necessary to life come into existence. Yesterday, our professor of creative writing, George Saunders, won the Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious global awards in literature. And early this morning, we were able to announce that in Syracuse University’s first annual giving day, more than 3,500 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends gave more than $1.7 million in one day to support financial aid, academic programs and other urgent needs at the University.
I know this is the age when administrators and politicians are prone to exaggeration. So I want to be careful when I say I can’t remember a single week in recent years when any University had more to be proud of than Syracuse University in this past week. In particular, I note that the two major academic announcements of the past week—the gravitational waves announcement and the Man Booker prize in literature—both come out of strategic support from our College of Arts and Sciences for our physics and creative writing programs over many years.
I would like to ask all our colleagues present who come from Arts and Sciences to remain sitting. I ask the rest of us to show our gratitude and support for the achievements of the College of Arts and Sciences by rising now to applaud them.
Thank you! Now, I get to talk about the mumps.
A growing number of mumps cases have been confirmed among our student population.
With continued counsel from the Onondaga County Health Department, we remain focused on educating the campus community about the prevention, detection and treatment of mumps.
There is evidence that these efforts are working. Students are visiting the Office of Health Services immediately when they begin experiencing symptoms.
As a result, our medical staff is able to treat and isolate affected students swiftly. This allows us to limit the further spread of the illness.
As of today, we’ve had 24 cases of mumps diagnosed. That is the total number of cases diagnosed since the first case was identified in late August. That does not mean 24 students currently have mumps. In fact, most of these 24 students have already made a full recovery and are no longer contagious, and are back at their studies.
Based on previous mumps outbreaks at other universities and colleges, it is likely we will continue to see new confirmed cases through the end of the semester. The county has told us that it will take time for the disease to run its course on our campus.
To keep the community fully informed, we are posting confirmed and probable cases on the health.syr.edu website.
Economic and Community Impact Report
As you know, earlier this year the University initiated an economic and community impact assessment to allow us to better understand, quantify and communicate the significant effect of our investments on the City of Syracuse and Central New York.
As a research institution, we appreciate the value of data. And that is exactly what we sought out —information beyond perception.
It is obvious from the data that we have reviewed thus far: Syracuse University’s investment in the City of Syracuse and Central New York—both from an economic and community impact perspective—continues to be profound.
Our university remains deeply rooted and invested in Central New York.
Beyond the University’s direct financial investments, Syracuse University reaches well beyond its campus to touch lives, invest in our neighborhoods and expand opportunities for the residents of Central New York.
We will be releasing preliminary reports on Oct. 30 on our community engagement as we continue our deep dive into the data.
Workgroups and Committees
Many of you, along with your fellow campus community members, have dedicated countless hours serving on workgroups and committees that are critical to the University mission.
Much progress has been made and work continues on the following initiatives:
- The Ad Hoc Committee on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)/Undocumented Students
- The Council on Diversity and Inclusion
- The Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence
- The Campus Facilities Advisory Board, also known as CFAB
Some updates have already been shared with the university community in recent weeks, particularly about the work of the Task Force on Sexual and Relationship violence and the CFAB.
- We have now reactivated the Ad Hoc Committee on DACA/Undocumented students.
- Supporting these students is important work and must continue, given the continued uncertainty.
- Shelly Sipley and Jennifer Mathews will continue to lead this effort.
- Membership is being expanded to include more representation.
- Dolan Evanovich, senior vice president for enrollment and the student experience, and I will be hosting one-on-one meetings this semester with all impacted students.
- Resources and support services for these students have been defined and communicated via the diversity portal, which can be found at diversity.syr.edu.
- This week we will provide a written update to the campus community on these efforts.
- The Council of Diversity and Inclusion has also continued its work this semester.
- It is currently reviewing the status of the short-term and long-term recommendations.
- The council continues to engage with other efforts on campus, including hurricane/natural disaster relief initiatives; the Internationalization Council; and the Ad Hoc Committee on DACA/Undocumented Students.
- The council will share more updates with the campus community by the end of this month.
The team at SU News will continue to report on the progress of these workgroups and committees. I urge you to follow these updates closely and remain engaged in the important work happening all over campus.
Hendricks Dean Installation
Finally, I invite you to join us on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for the installation of the Rev. Brian E. Konkol as the seventh dean of Hendricks Chapel.
The event will be held at 4 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. A reception will follow in the Milton Atrium in the Life Sciences Complex.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Dean Konkol, I encourage you to do so. He and his family are a wonderful addition to the Syracuse community.
That concludes my update. Thank you for your continued partnership.