The success continues for Syracuse University student-athletes in the classroom. For the third year, Syracuse University Athletics ranks in the top five among Power 5 schools’ Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores. Syracuse’s 94% GSR is tied for the fifth highest…
Chancellor Syverud Updates University Senate on Benefits, Sustainability and Preparations for Supreme Court Decisions
Welcome back from spring break! Welcome to the sprint to Commencement. It’s going to be a fast one I know for all of us. I have just two minutes of updates.
First, I have been reviewing suggestions for changes to our process for deciding benefits for our faculty and staff. I have received some input from our human resources professionals, from concerned Senate bodies and from faculty experts. I’ve also reviewed a report that a group of Senators worked on titled “Recommendations Toward Improving the Employee Benefits Determination Process,” and I am taking that report quite seriously. I expect to consult with HR leadership and Professor Eric Kingson in the coming week and to report fully at the April meeting on this and to provide a written report to the Senate on next steps before that meeting.
The second thing is to talk about sustainability at Syracuse University. We have some previous guideposts for the University’s efforts. First—we have Syracuse University’s 2022 Climate Action Plan that you can find on the sustainability website. This document benchmarks our status and outlines specific strategies over the next five years to bring us closer to carbon neutrality.
I have now also reviewed carefully the more recent report on sustainability and recommendations of our Student Association (SA) which worked with students from ESF and Le Moyne on this project. I have spoken since then about priorities under that report with the SA leadership. I expect an announcement, in conjunction with SA leadership, before the next Senate meeting on new steps the University is going to take to enhance sustainability.
Third, I want to speak about the forthcoming Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action in higher education. We expect that these decisions will be coming in June in both the Harvard and University of North Carolina cases. Based on the oral arguments in those cases, it appears quite possible that the Supreme Court will effectively end affirmative action in higher education in these opinions.
With that possibility in mind, we are faced with a question of how Syracuse University is prepared to maintain a diverse and inclusive student body in what may be a post-affirmative action era.
I have created a working group led by Provost Ritter and Chief Student Experience Officer Groves to proactively prepare for this issue. The group has been working hard on several actions in recent months. First, the team is assessing potential outcomes of the court’s decisions. Second, they are devising strategies to maintain our diverse and inclusive University based on each of these potential outcomes. And third, they will be communicating this work in the coming weeks to raise everybody’s awareness and to engage our community on this effort.
We are being proactive in our approach so that we can be nimble and respond based on the detail in the court’s decisions. Inclusion has been one of the core tenets of Syracuse University since its founding in 1870. We are committed to maintaining a diverse student body in the future. The Supreme Court’s decisions may make this more difficult, and may require us to redouble our efforts in different ways. But Syracuse University will remain a diverse and inclusive university.
Those are my two minutes today. Thank you.