Syracuse University was one of many higher education institutions which ended on-campus classes during the coronavirus pandemic, but the mandatory evacuation of college students did not faze student protesters at the northern New York university. Campus Reform has the details.
Initially, protesters from the “Not Again” protest group said they would finish their month-long protest and occupation of the Crouse-Hinds Hall administrative building on the university’s campus. But when the university said it would halt classes on the campus, the protesters changed their minds.
The protesters issued a statement, which outlined their refusal to comply with the university’s directive, and called the media’s coronavirus pandemic coverage both “racist” and “xenophobic.” They lumped in the university’s decision as a part of the administration’s alleged “continual disregard for marginalized students.” The group also cited “systemic violence” on Syracuse’s campus but did not cite examples of said violence.
Several days after issuing their statement, the protesters disbanded and left campus to comply with the university’s actions.
The protests stemmed at least five months in the past, back in November 2019, when there were multiple race-related incidents at Syracuse. Activists claimed there were at least sixteen different race-related incidents, ranging from a swastika graffiti, alleged sharing of a white supremacist manifesto at the university library through mobile devices, and anti-minority graffiti. Protests ensued after the incidents were made public and the protesters issued a list of demands.
Some of their demands were: expelling students involved in the alleged crimes, imposing mandatory diversity training for new staff and faculty members, and the option for same-race roommate selection in housing applications. The latter is an emerging example of campus housing proposals that could erase gains made from the desegregation and civil rights movements in the 1960s.
When the university did not acquiesce to all of their demands, the protesters then pushed for university chancellor Kent Syverud to resign, which he did not do.