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Message from Chancellor Kent Syverud
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Last night the Daily Orange released an additional video of the behavior at the Syracuse University chapter of Theta Tau. The video depicts sexual assault, physical violence and grotesque hostility toward and mockery of people with physical, intellectual and other disabilities.
This additional video is part of the evidence Syracuse University received on Wednesday and immediately referred for potential criminal investigation to local law enforcement and for student judicial proceedings. It is not the only evidence, and there are other videos as well. We do not reveal evidence in an ongoing potential criminal and judicial investigation so as not to prejudice that investigation and so as not to enable those being investigated to escape responsibility for all of their actions. For this reason, I have been constrained in what I could say to date about this incident. I do not know what videos or other evidence the Daily Orange or other media may possess, and the media are not necessarily subject to the same constraints as I am in releasing information.
Now that the media has released this second video, I can comment more specifically on it than I have been able to in my previous statements on Wednesday, April 18, Thursday, April 19, Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21. In my specific comments on the first video, I have noted that its disgusting content included extreme and egregious racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. I deeply believe it was important to name that video for what it is, and I will be consistent in responding to this second video.
The words and behaviors in the second video are appalling and disgusting on many intersecting grounds. They especially offend all Syracuse University holds dear about diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities. Diane Wiener, director of Syracuse University’s Disability Cultural Center (DCC), has explained why in careful and thoughtful detail, which I link here. I believe the second video depicts egregious behavior, including sexual assault, violence and discriminatory mockery and hostility toward people with disabilities that is unacceptable and deeply harmful in many ways. I ask all of us who care about our community and its values to reaffirm them by emphatically rejecting all this video represents. There is absolutely no place at Syracuse University for tolerance of this behavior.
I am deeply concerned about how the continuing exposure to hateful videos is causing further hurt and distress to members of our campus community who are still dealing with the last public display of bigotry and hatred. Following tonight’s 7 p.m. Dean’s Convocation at Hendricks Chapel, I along with the Dean of Students Robert Hradsky, DCC Director and Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council Diane Wiener, Associate Vice President Colleen Bench, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Candace Campbell Jackson, Special Assistant and Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council Barry L. Wells, Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado and other concerned leaders, will be on hand. We will go to an appropriate and accessible space to engage with students and community members who desire to do so until 9:30 p.m.
Chancellor Kent Syverud