Update: More Racist Graffiti Found on SU Campus as Students Continue Sit-in Protest

Nov 13, 2019

Students stage sit-in at SU's Barnes at the Arch Health and Wellness building over racist graffiti in a residence hall, and what they see as slow response from university officials.
Credit twitter@NeSommavilla

UPDATE:  Syracuse University Department of Public Safety Offiicals reported early Thursday that more racist graffiti was discovered in a restroom stall of the Physics building targeting Asian individuals.  There are no suspects and are investigating this latest incident.  Beyond that, university officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, students continue their silent sit-in at the Barnes Health and Wellness Center on campus.  Some student groups are showing solidarity with those protesting by cancelling or delaying events. University Union cancelled its screening of a movie on campus and Otto’s Army did not attend Wednesday’s basketball game against Colgate.  They're also not attending either the football or basketball game on Saturday.

Students are expressing their frustrations on social media. Willy is Sociology PhD Student. Interests: Social Movements, Hip-Hop Pedagogy, Trauma Narratives, Queer & Feminist Theory.Credit twitter.com / @rebelnpeaceEdit | Remove

Governor Cuomo once again expressed dismay at the situation.  Here's his statement:  

"For the second time, racist graffiti was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at Syracuse University. We take these situations very seriously, and the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force and State Division of Human Rights will continue to assist local authorities in the investigation of these hateful acts.

"This abhorrent language is part of the growing cancer of hate and anger that is spreading across our country, and at this divisive time in our history New York must be different. When you attack one of us, you attack us all - and we will continue to stand up and condemn hate whenever it rears its ugly head."

Credit twitter.com / @charlie_Tomas

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud responded to protesting students Wednesday for their concerns over how incidence of racist and hate-speech graffiti were dealt with.  Syverud, in a memo to the campus, said he met with the students to hear their short- and long-term demands. 

Dozens of Syracuse University students staged a silent sit-in protest at the campus health and wellness center, called the Barnes Center, in response to the racist graffiti and vandalism in Day Hall.

While the protest was silent, students of color on social media say they feel uncomfortable walking around campus due to the use of the N-word in messages scrawled on walls in the residence hall.  They  are also concerned with the lack of transparency around the incident from university officials. 

Laura E. Canuelas-Torres, Ph.D. student at Newhouse School, takes issue with the language university officials use. Here's more from her profile. UPR Alumni. Occasional cosplayer, geek. (Opinions are my own) Research: #socialmovements #media #protests #activismCredit twitter.com / @canuelas_LEEdit | Remove

Some students started an online petition calling for Chancellor Syverud and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith Alford to resign if demands of expulsion of those responsible and mandatory diversity training are not met by next Wednesday.

Syverud acknowledged the deep concern of student and the impact the incidents have on the campus climate.  He previously said that he was dissapointed that university officials didn't communicate the incidents more broadly to the campus community and public right after they were discovered last week.  He announced two immediate actions:

  • I have asked that there be prompt implementation of a new protocol for how the University responds to bias incidents. It is vital that we simultaneously prioritize caring for students directly impacted, communicating in a timely manner to the campus community, and swiftly investigating the incident. Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith Alford, Department of Public Safety (DPS) Chief Bobby Maldonado and Dean Thomson will finalize this approach by next week.
  • Many students have raised questions about the current Code of Student Conduct and whether it needs to be revisited and revised, especially as it pertains to bias-related incidents. I have directed Dean Thomson to work with student leaders on this and promptly report any suggested changes.

Syverud has also asked student leaders to work with the Dean of Students and other staff members on the issues. 

The investigation is ongoing to find out who was responsible for the graffiti .  The students say in posts that they plan to continue the silent protest until Thanksgiving Break.