Jewish Student Concerns

Below, find the concerns and recommendations presented by Jewish students and signed by Chancellor Kent Syverud on Nov. 21, 2019.

1. Security Assessment for University Owned Buildings

  1. DPS Monitored Cameras
    1. Ensure that all University cameras are in working order with clear imaging and effective field of view
      1. Servicing to be done before students return for Spring Semester 2020
      2. Following the assessment a message will be sent to relevant and responsible parties
  2. Spaces
    1. Work with individual groups to understand their unique security concerns
      1. In the case of Hillel, staff have recognized the need to work with the Department of Homeland Security to make updates that will require assistance and assessment from university departments (Physical Plant, CPDC)
        1. Example: Getting a video-intercom system for the front door

Lead Responsible Party
Tony Callisto, Senior Vice President, Campus Safety, and Chief Law Enforcement Officer

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Cameras were installed in Day Hall as a pilot and were fully operational on Dec. 1. 
  • Campus Safety and Emergency Services (CSES) staff has evaluated the current installation and has developed a phased approach and budget estimate for installations in additional residence halls. 
  • A CSES employee is dedicated to daily review of camera functionality status. Reports of any camera malfunctions will be addressed immediately by CSES and Facilities Services. 
  • Marsh Risk Consulting conducted a comprehensive security review of campus facilities: 64 of 211 Marsh Risk Consulting campuswide safety recommendations have been completed to date and are continuing. Risk management is meeting with Campus Planning, Design and Construction this month to coordinate next phases of campuswide safety improvements.
  • All security reviews of resident halls, dining halls and laundry facilities were completed on Nov. 28.  
  • Peter Owen, of the U.S Department of Homeland Security, along with Commander James McLellan, completed a security assessment of Hillel on Oct. 7. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is scheduling a review of the assessment with Hillel leadership.

2. Communication Between DPS and Syracuse University Community

  1. Two open forums per semester for students to express safety concerns to the community
  2. Student advisory committee to DPS made up of representatives from various student groups on campus
    1. Committee is to be advertised to all SROs on campus. It is asked that organizations send delegates to the committee to ensure maximum representation of the student body

Lead Responsible Party
Tony Callisto, Senior Vice President, Campus Safety, and Chief Law Enforcement Officer

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • DPS is developing the spring 2020 campus community forum format, dates and locations. 
  • DPS has a Student Advisory Committee, as well as a Students of Color Advisory Committee. Chief Bobby Maldonado’s team will advertise for SRO membership in the spring semester. 

3. Religious Observance

  1. Re-evaluate the message given to faculty and staff at the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester
  2. Students should not be pressured to choose between observing sacred holidays and going to class or participating in group projects
    1. This is of particular interest to the Jewish community since our major holidays fall during the semester (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, Passover)
  3. Provide a more user friendly interface for students to identify their religious observances by the beginning of Fall 2020
    1. The current system of requesting religious exemption is hard to navigate and understand unless someone who has previously requested an absence assists
  4. Reconsider the time frame within which students must submit their religious observance absence form
    1. The current system requires that students submit their religious absences within the first two weeks of the semester.

Lead Responsible Party
Chris Johnson, Associate Provost

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • The “Syllabus Letter” that was sent to faculty prior to the spring 2020 semester was revised to more forcefully encourage faculty not to schedule exams or group presentations on sacred holidays. Language from the concern was directly used in the letter, and a link to the list of holidays curated by Hendricks Chapel was included.  
  • The Office of the Registrar and Office of the Chief Information Officer have met to start scoping out the technical issues with students’ concern to better request a religious exemption.

4. Judaism as an Identity

  1. For many Jews, we identify as Jewish independent of our faith or religious practice. Curriculum for SEM 100 needs to be updated to understand that Judaism, for many, is both a cultural identity, ethnic identity, and religion
  2. Training for faculty and staff to recognize Jewish identity in the curriculum and implement such recognition, as well as when interacting with students with this identity
  3. Implement anti-Semitism training that has been developed, reviewed, and deemed ready
    1. To include awareness of micro-aggression
    2. To work towards including this training in University spaces, such as Fraternities and Sororities, when other diversity trainings are being offered.

Lead Responsible Party
Chris Johnson, Associate Provost

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Judaism as an identity is being addressed through the “Identity Wheel” exercise included in the SEM 100 curriculum.
  • The recommendation to include training for faculty and staff to recognize Jewish identity in the curriculum and implement such recognition, as well as when interacting with students with this identity, has been referred to Cathryn Newton for incorporation into faculty training programs.  
  • Leaders from ESE met with Hillel leadership during December and January.   
  • The updated curriculum covering anti-Semitism will launch this fall using the Everfi platform for delivery to students. 

5. Marginalized Identity Student Leadership Coalition

  1. University sponsored student coalition of marginalized-identities supported by willing faculty and staff
    1. Coalition will meet in two different capacities each month
      1. In one meeting the coalition will congregate to discuss campus climate and address individual groups' concerns
      2. The Chancellor, Dean of Hendricks Chapel, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer will be present at the second meeting of each month to listen to and appropriately respond to student concerns
        1. The Chancellor, Dean of Hendricks Chapel, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer will refer various departments to student coalition to enact further change

Lead Responsible Party
Rob Hradsky, Vice President for the Student Experience

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The vice president for the student experience is working with Hillel staff on a draft structure for the Marginalized Identity Student Leadership Coalition.  
  • Student engagement will be conducted during the spring semester. The coalition will launch in fall 2020. 

6. Better communication

  1. Monthly reports
    1. Bias on Campus
      1. Report published by DPS and/or Anti-Bias that is accessible to the university community
        1. In a month when there are no founded bias based incidents, notification would be sent to the campus community.
        2. The person reporting can decide if their report is available publicly
      2. Bias related incident reports to be sent directly to the Chancellor and other appropriate directors, VPs, department heads that includes all DPS and/or Anti-Bias reports
    2. Progress report on updates on progress of demands put forth by students during the fall 2019 semester
  2. When incidents arise
    1. More timely updates and notifications
      1. To students
      2. To parents/family
      3. To faculty/staff
  3. Speak to student worries, concerns
    1. Example: Just because there isn't a legally recognized presence of a threat doesn't mean that students feel safe

Lead Responsible Party
Tony Callisto, Senior Vice President, Campus Safety, and Chief Law Enforcement Officer

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • DPS has established a Bias Incident Reports page on its website. Bias incidents are posted within 48 hours, unless posting would compromise an investigation into the incident.  
  • DPS is developing the Spring 2020 forum format, dates and locations. 
  • DPS has a Student Advisory Committee, as well as a Students of Color Advisory Committee. Chief Maldonado’s team will advertise for SRO membership in the spring semester.