#NotAgainSU: Weeks of hate on campus spark student protests


Photo by @dailyorange

Syracuse students painting a mural over the graffiti.

Adam Perez and Jessi Schlewitt

On Nov. 7, Syracuse University students reported racist graffiti found overnight in the bathrooms of Day Hall, a dormitory for freshmen students. The incident was first disclosed four days later by two of the university’s student-run publications, The Daily Orange and Renegade Magazine. According to Renegade Magazine, students of Day Hall were instructed by administration to avoid sharing photos or videos of the event.

“[The administration doesn’t] want this information leaked to the press,” said the magazine via its Instagram account @renegademagsu on Nov. 11. “We can’t let them cover this up.”

Over the 2 weeks that followed, 10 additional discriminatory incidents occurred. These included racist graffiti in multiple campus bathrooms, a swastika drawn off campus in the snow, a student yelling a derogatory epithet, fraternity members shouting racist slurs to a black woman and a white supremacist manifesto uploaded online, which was deleted shortly after. Consequently, many professors canceled classes, although there was no official university-ordered cancelation.

In reaction to these incidents, students created #NotAgainSU, a movement formed to provoke ad- ministrative action. Members participated in a sit-in at Syracuse’s recreation center on Nov. 13, which lasted eight days despite the initial intention of a half-day protest. Its objective was to demand change from the administration, including expelling the stu- dents responsible for the Day Hall hate crime, cur- riculum adjustments and a “same race” option in the roommate selection process. As of Nov. 20, Chancel- lor Kent Syverud has agreed to address several of

the movement’s concerns, including changes to the curriculum and the student code of conduct.

On Nov. 29, an email signed by Chancellor and President Kent Syverud was sent to Syracuse stu- dents, faculty and staff regarding the unease many students experienced in returning to campus after Thanksgiving break. “Our academic deans are work- ing with faculty to ensure that students will not be penalized for missing class in person, although theyare expected to nish academic work and meet dead- lines for turning in assignments,” wrote Syrevud. “As educators, we must show compassion to and care for our students.”

A similar email reinforcing the inclusive inten- tions of Syracuse was sent to prospective students on Nov. 30 and was signed by the Dean of Admissions. “We are outraged and saddened by the recent events on our campus,” the email said. “Though these kinds of incidents are increasingly reported at many uni- versities, we will not tolerate them here and our ap- proach is singularly focused on our students, their needs, concerns, experiences and growth.”

Regardless, many protesters are not satis ed withthe response. “The protesting group is calling for the chancellor’s resignation because they believe he handled everything poorly and is not implementing the proposed changes fast enough,” said WHS class

of 2017 alum and Syracuse junior Eric Storms. “I be- lieve the administration does care about the studentsand is trying hard to x the issues, but when it comesto protecting groups on campus, they need to do a better job and make the changes in a timely fashion.”

In light of the events, some WHS students who recently applied to Syracuse are rethinking their de- cision. An anonymous WHS senior and early deci- sion applicant, meaning the student is legally binded to attend next fall if accepted, is now apprehensive about attending. “Last year when I visited, I saw a very inclusive community. It seems as if it has totally changed,” the senior said. “I am somewhat regretting my decision to ED to Syracuse.”

Other students do not view the events as indica-tive of Syracuse speci cally, but rather of society asa whole. “This will not impact my college decision, as this happens everywhere,” said another anony- mous WHS student and Syracuse applicant.

“In today’s world, you cannot run from racism,” said Haley Tomasso, WHS class of 2018 alum and Syracuse sophomore. “As sad and disappointing as that is to say, I believe that with any school, there has been and will be problems in regards to racism.”

As for now, Syverud displays no intention of re- signing, but plans on working with the students to implement some of the suggested changes.