Vincente Cuevas is a health promotions coordinator at the Barnes Center at The Arch. Blaine Moore works for the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron at Hancock Airport. And Mary Welker works in the Office of Professional Research and Development in…
Extensive Discussions Conclude in Crouse-Hinds Hall
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Last night, University leaders and the students protesting in Crouse-Hinds Hall completed the last of four agreed upon engagement sessions, which accounted for more than 14 hours of dialogue beginning on Monday, March 2.
Although we were unable to make progress on some of our students’ requests, we did reach common ground on many of their concerns, including:
- Encourage our faculty, who have full discretion for the courses they teach, to help the protesting students to achieve their learning objectives for the courses they are taking and consider excusing absences, limiting penalties for late work, and providing flexibility on due dates for upcoming work.
- Review and revise our Campus Disruption Policy, specifically as it relates to peaceful protests.
- Hire five new counselors to meet the students’ counseling needs.
- Revise the Code of Student Conduct and associated procedures to make clearer that bias-motivated conduct will be punished more severely than non-biased conduct. The University also committed to revising the Code to hold bystanders and accomplices of bias-related incidents accountable.
- Recommit $5 million for scholarships and programs like the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), Student Support Services (SSS) and Our Time Has Come.
- Improve the housing and roommate selection process through use of enhanced software.
- Increase the Office of Student Living (OSL) budget by $500,000 for resident advisor diversity programming and hiring a new assistant director of diversity and inclusion within OSL.
- Require newly hired faculty to attend diversity training within one year of hire.
- Add a subscription option to the bias incident page so individuals who want to receive email notifications can do so.
Whenever possible, the University agreed to the students’ requests as written; in some cases, the University agreed in principle; and in a few instances, we simply could not support the requests being made, or cannot implement them under the law or under shared governance practices. For example:
- The identities of students found responsible for bias incidents will not be shared through the University’s conduct system because that violates federal privacy laws.
- The University will not disarm the officers of the Department of Public Safety.
- We will not issue a statement saying that the University is complicit in perpetuating oppressive systems, specifically white supremacy.
- The University will not ask for or support the resignations of individuals as demanded by this group of students.
Though last week’s discussions have concluded, the University continues to provide meaningful avenues for continued engagement and dialogue. They include the Campus Commitments Engagement Committees; the Board of Trustees Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion; and the Independent Advisory Panel. As a community, we will build on the efforts of the last several months (Syracuse.edu/commitments) and push ahead on the new commitments made. We understand this work requires persistence, intentionality and a collective commitment to the work and to each other. Working together, we will surely make steady progress toward that goal.
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost