Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud, who early in his career served as a Supreme Court law clerk, offers thoughts on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Justice Ginsburg was among the most impactful lawyers and judges of our time….
Message to Alumni from Chancellor Kent Syverud
Dear Orange Alumni:
The last 48 hours have been especially difficult for our Orange community. Like so many of you, our students, faculty and staff have expressed concern, disappointment and outrage at the offensive and appalling behavior displayed by members of one of our professional fraternities. As I told the campus community, the video was extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities.
The events of the last several days have reminded us that although this conduct is shocking to many of us, it is not all that surprising to those among us who have experienced any kind of bigotry before. Despite the outrage we all share, I have been comforted by the fact that in the face of adversity, our community—both on campus and beyond—can stand united in rejecting hate and bias of any kind.
We are not the only college campus in the country facing some stark realities of prejudice and hate. But we will face up to these challenges and do the work that must be done to battle bigotry and to truly become the inclusive community we aspire to be.
I want to share with you the steps we are taking that I am confident will allow us to effect real change. In addition to suspending the Theta Tau fraternity and launching a comprehensive investigation, the University is taking the following actions:
· Conducting a top to bottom review of all of our Greek life policies, activities and culture, to be commenced this week and completed in time for us to revise all our practices for the start of the fall semester.
· Requiring all Greek and student organization leaders, members and advisors to participate in implicit bias training and inclusivity training.
· Establishing mandatory training for all students, new and continuing, about the values, culture and expectations of our community.
Together as a global Orange community, we must reaffirm what we reject and what we value. We will condemn any behaviors that profoundly contradict our Orange values. We must continue to envision what Syracuse University should and can be when we come together as a united community.
We will keep you informed as we take the necessary actions to achieve our shared vision.
Chancellor Kent Syverud