Syracuse University Students Face More Penalties for Protests over Campus Race, Tuition, Inclusion

Feb 18, 2020

Students continue a protest inside Syracuse University's administration building despite threats of suspension. #NotAgainSU members have new demands, while SU officials say progress is being made and steps taken on their concerns
Credit Alyssa Lyons/WAER News

About two dozen Syracuse University students have been told they’re on interim-suspension after they refused to leave a sit-in at the administration building.   The latest stand-off between the Not Again SU protesters and university leadership includes diverted classes and locked doors with less tolerance by SU administration than protestors received during demonstrations late last year.


Crouse-Hinds Hall has been on lockdown since last night, though university officials say the students inside are free to leave anytime.  Meanwhile, others are locked out, including Assistant Political Science Professor Jenn Jackson.  She says the students are clearly upset, and the Department of Public Safety has been aggressive.

“There were students at the windows, their faces literally in tears.  They were crying because they were so hungry and because they feel they’re being intimidated by DPS agents, and they’re scared.  So part of what we said when we talked to administrators that came downstairs was that they need to let faculty members inside so that we can talk to them and act as a buffer between students and DPS agents.”

Students renewed their protests Monday and have a new list of demands which inlcude:

  • The identification of perpetrators in biased incidents;
  • A tuition freeze;
  • The disarming of public safety officers
  • The University taking public responsibility for the systemic issues that occur on campus.

 

University officials issued this statement to media regarding students protesting inside of the administation building 

Student demonstrators, currently staging a protest in Crouse Hinds Hall, are free to leave at any time. In fact, these students have been asked and encouraged, on multiple occasions, to exit the building. Any claim that students are being prevented from leaving Crouse Hinds Hall is patently false.

Supporters of the protesters gathered outside Crouse Hinds Hall, though were not let in. Some say they were unable to get food, medicine and sanitary products to the demonstrators.
Credit Alyssa Lyons/WAER News

A student protester with Not Again SU, most of whom ask to remain anonymous, says they're trying to ensure transparency and progress.  

“Our demands are to make the campus better, to make it a better space.  You can let the whole general body know what they’re doing.  All of these things are not going to just benefit specific groups, like they’re going to benefit everybody on this campus.”

A statement posted to the Syracuse Univeity website explained the administration's position for being less tolerant with the current protests.

"Though the University continues to support peaceful demonstration and the free and respectful exchange of ideas, University leaders are enforcing established policies that help maintain an environment that fosters sensitivity, understanding and respect for all 22,000 students in our community, as well as our faculty, staff and visitors."

Mayor Ben Walsh also assured both students and the community that he is paying attention.

“I am monitoring the developments at Syracuse University. My primary concerns are ensuring that students and the campus community are safe and that students are provided the opportunity to present their concerns. My staff and I will continue to be in regular contact with the Administration, the Syracuse Police Department and, as in the past, with students on campus,” Walsh said in a release.

Students are also requesting the resignation of four top administrators, including Chancellor Kent Syverud.  Professor Jackson says the answers to the problems are obvious to her.

“The solution is for the administration to support them; the solution is for the administration to say that it’s ok for them to occupy a space on a campus where they pay tuition to attend.  The solution is for faculty members to be allowed to talk to our students and the solution is for them not to be suspended for protesting.” 

Social media posts by supporters asked university officials to reinstate those who face suspensions, and to allow the delivery of food, toiletries and medical supplies to protesters who refuse to leave the building.

The University released a statement expressing that students protesting in Crouse Hinds Hall violated the Campus Disruption Policy. They have yet to respond to the new list of demands and requests from Not Again SU.

Last year and at the beginning of the current semester, SU officials pledged to make progress on hiring, new programs and investments in other resources to respond to demands made in the initial protests last November.  Those measures included an Independent Advisory Panel that started hearings this week, inviting students to participate.