Concerns of Student Protesters

Below, find the concerns and recommendations presented by the students peacefully protesting and signed by Chancellor Kent Syverud on Nov. 21, 2019. For each concern, the lead responsible party has been identified as well as the University's response and progress.

1. "Different punishments for different levels of involvement, including expulsion, for every student involved with the hate crimes committed in Day Hall, and any other incidents of racism that have occurred since, that are found to violate the student code of conduct."

Lead Responsible Party
Marianne Thomson, Associate Vice President, Student Experience and Dean of Students

Response
We agree that revisions to the Student Code of Conduct are appropriate to make even more clear the serious consequences for hate speech. We believe the current code of conduct already permits the punishment discussed, and both the text and communication about the code need to be improved. Current policies governing faculty, including the Faculty Handbook, already provide serious consequences for racial discrimination.

Revisions to the Student Code of Conduct will commence immediately and will be fully implemented no later than August, 2020.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The process is underway to revise the Student Code of Conduct to more clearly state the serious consequences of hate speech.
  • Research is being done to look at the wording of conduct codes and policies regarding hate speech at other ACC schools.
  • Students, faculty and staff who signed up for the Policies Student Engagement Committee will be contacted shortly to serve on the workgroups. Committee members will work together to review and discuss new language, which will be fully implemented no later than August 2020.

2. "SEM 100 reform led by a diverse group of students and faculty to curate a curriculum that accurately addresses diversity issues in the 21st century and how they are influenced by history."

Lead Responsible Party
Chris Johnson, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs

Response
The Provost agrees to this recommendation for the Fall 2020 SEM1OO course. SEM1OO was always intended to be a short term initiative, to be replaced in 2021 with a more comprehensive diversity and inclusion curriculum reform. The University acknowledges that the Fall 2020 SEM1OO course needs to fix the deficiencies of the Fall 2019 SEM1OO course. We will work to achieve that for 2020, investing more resources in pursuit of better learning outcomes. The Provost will include a diverse group of students and faculty in leading this work.

With regard to the more comprehensive diversity and inclusion reform, the existing senate ad hoc committees will increase their work with students and faculty to develop a robust and comprehensive set of credit­ bearing, required courses to meet these learning objectives. The Provost calls upon schools and colleges and the University Senate-the bodies that control curriculum changes—to work constructively and proactively on this and quickly pass these reforms when they are fully developed.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Curriculum revisions are complete for the spring 2020 SEM 100 course.
  • New training for facilitators is under development and will be complete for upcoming facilitator training sessions.
  • Additional curriculum changes are under consideration for fall 2020.

3. "Institute a clause in new faculty and staff contracts that requires mandatory diversity trainings, as well as new diversity hires. Current faculty and staff who are not tenured should have to attend new diversity trainings."

Lead Responsible Party
LaVonda Reed, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs

Response
We agree that the terms and conditions of employment for all new faculty and staff will require diversity and inclusion training. All faculty and staff also will complete an annual training in discrimination and unconscious bias as part of required training under state law. In addition to mandatory training, we will
continue to enhance programs open to faculty and staff to promote diversity and inclusion.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The University has expanded its diversity training for all faculty and staff, including the Midwinter Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility advanced institute on Jan. 9. Five topical Inclusive Teaching and Learning workshops for faculty will be offered in 2020. A student advisory group will be established to participate in training development.
  • The Office of Faculty Affairs is working with academic leadership to include references to these and other mandatory trainings and professional development in new faculty appointment letters by March 15. A new clause in staff offer letters requiring diversity training within 30 days of hire has been implemented.
  • Along with other resources already in place for diversity hiring, the newly created Diversity Opportunity Hires initiative will bolster faculty diversity by increasing funding aimed at competitive recruitment of faculty from underrepresented minority groups.

4. "The university agrees that there will be no consequences or sanctions arising for students who are participating in the sit in as a result of their participation in the sit in."

Lead Responsible Party
Marianne Thomson, Associate Vice President, Student Experience and Dean of Students

Response
The University agrees. As Chancellor Syverud has indicated in interactions with the students, there will be no student disciplinary action in the current circumstances for Barnes Center student participators who have participated in nonviolent protest and constructive dialogue on these vital concerns.

Status Complete

Progress
Resolved


5. "We would like to engage with the administration to strengthen or clarify the current anti-harassment policy regarding the use of abusive, threatening, or harassing hate speech to deliver the message that targeted use of hate speech is unacceptable."

Lead Responsible Party
Marianne Thomson, Associate Vice President, Student Experience and Dean of Students

Response
We agree. While the current anti-harassment policy addresses hate speech, we will engage promptly with students on how to clarify the policy.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Benchmarking of ACC schools’ conduct codes and policies for specific mentions of hate speech has begun. The Education Advisory Board has been contacted to identify other institutions with hate speech conduct charges and policies.
  • Student engagement and legal reviews will continue during the spring semester with a project target completion of April.
  • Additionally, the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience approved an Invest Syracuse proposal of over $80,000 to expand the Bias Response and Education Program. This additional funding will increase the bias response program’s ability to reach additional audiences through presentations by adding one coordinator and increasing peer educators from three to six.

6. "A housing portal (such as My College Roomie or Roomsync) should be implemented as an option in the roommate selection process to allow future residents to choose a roommate based on mutual interests and ideRaties, as well as the expansion and promotion of multicultural learning communities (LCs) to more residence halls on campus, including upper division and mixed ­population communities."

Lead Responsible Party
Jennifer Uryniak, Interim Director, Auxiliary Services, and Rob Hradsky,Vice President for the Student Experience

Response
The University commits to working with students on this issue and on the future development of multicultural learning communities. There are legal aspects of roommate selection by identity that will constrain any solutions; selection of a roommate based on mutual interests can be enhanced in our process.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • My College Roomie was purchased Dec. 1 and is currently being implemented. The “go-live” for the software, which assists in roommate selection, will be later in the spring semester.
  • The University received student feedback on the Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) by survey and “drop-in” meetings in December and January. A final decision on expanding the MLLC is expected in February when applications open for upperclass learning communities.

7. "The Chancellor will strongly urge the Board of Trustees to create an open forum for students to share their student experience and express the expectations of their university to the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University. This forum should be held twice a year, along with monthly updates written by students for Trustees."

Lead Responsible Party
Lisa Dolak, Senior Vice President and University Secretary

Response
The Board of Trustees is and has been committed to the core values of diversity and inclusion at Syracuse University. The Board, led by Chair Kathy Walters, does engage in periodic updates on the University's diversity and inclusion efforts. As the University implements these responses, the Board will
focus on progress in this area. In addition, the Board of Trustees—through its Student Affairs Committee and through student representatives to the Board—regularly engages with student leaders, including from the Undergraduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization.

We encourage students to participate with these shared governance bodies, including through their regular reports and interactions with the board. We will facilitate education and involvement of students with the SA and GSO board representatives.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The Board of Trustees Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion has been appointed. 
  • Stakeholder engagement is planned for campus in early February and March.

8. "In order for the Office of Student Living to properly implement housing changes, OSL should be allocated more funding for RA training, programming and other multicultural events."

Lead Responsible Party
Marianne Thomson, Associate Vice President, Student Experience and Dean of Students

Response
We agree that, as our housing changes­ including in response to the housing study due to be completed in May, 2020-there will need to be greater resources allocated to these areas. We will work with appropriate student representatives, including the Residence Halls Association and others, to identify and allocate these resources starting in spring 2020.

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • The Office of Student Living (OSL), in partnership with Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and relevant student organizations, is doubling the capacity for the Students of Color Leadership Retreat to now serve 80 students annually, beginning March 6-8.
  • The University will establish a new International Students Leadership Retreat to serve 80 students annually beginning in fall 2020.
  • To provide additional support for full-time and student staff to dive deeper on issues of diversity and inclusion, there will be a daylong professional development session for all full-time OSL staff on Jan. 30 and a two-day retreat for RAs in August.
  • OSL and Dean of Students Office hosted a webinar and conversation on Jan. 22, “Supervision with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lens.” All supervisors in OSL were required to attend.
  • The University will hire an assistant director of diversity and inclusion initiatives in OSL this spring.
  • Over $135,000 in funding has been approved for expansion of the Students of Color Leadership Retreat, OSL staff development and the hiring of diversity and inclusion lead staff person for OSL.

9. "Agree to hire more counselors that better represent all marginalized identities on campus and more counselors with language fluency before the Fall 2020 semester begins, allow students to select their own counselor and enhance any current diversity & inclusion training, mandatory for both new and current  counselors."

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

Response
The University has now opened four additional counselor positions (and has hired four counselors in the past year who self-identify as people of color). Three of our existing counselors speak multiple languages.

For the open positions, the University agrees to be attentive to experience and training in mental health issues of marginalized communities. They will be hired before the fall 2020 semester begins. New and current counselors will attend, as is currently the practice, at least five on-campus events and trainings on diversity and inclusion each year. The University will carefully work to identify appropriate enhancements to diversity and inclusion training for counselors.

The University's faculty hiring plan will continue to include emphasis on enhancing diversity.

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • Four additional counseling positions were created and posted. Applicants are being screened and interviews are expected to begin the week of Jan. 27.
  • The Barnes Center is working with the Office of Human Resources to be attentive to experience and training in mental health issues of marginalized communities
  • The option for students to select their counselor currently exists.
  • Barnes Center supervisors attended “Supervision with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lens,” on Jan. 22. Dr. Jamie Washington presented.
  • Additionally, the University is seeking to hire an associate director for diversity and inclusion for the Barnes Center by next fall.

10. "Agree to the development of a building for multicultural offices, including scholarship offices, organizations, and programs, moving the existing offices for students of color to this new location. This building should exist as a headquarters for these programs and offices; however, we would like to see these offices and programs represented across campus."

Lead Responsible Party
Keith Alford, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Response
The University agrees to address these concerns, and indeed University leaders have been working on this for the past several months. As new and renovated buildings open in 2020, new and vacated spaces will become available to provide both central hubs and distributed programs across campus. Working with student representatives, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Vice President and Chief Campus Facilities Officer, the Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Campus Facilities Advisory Board, the University will appropriately meet these concerns.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Event space in 550 Bird Library has been converted to a student lounge, providing a dedicated space for gathering, meeting, studying or taking a break between classes. This space is also connected to the cultural centers’ suite in Bird Library, which houses the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Disability Cultural Center and LGBT Resource Center. The space will be available during the same operating hours as the fifth floor of the library until the new cultural centers’ suite opens in Schine Student Center.
  • The University continues to evaluate additional spaces that may be responsive to this concern.

11. "Agree to allocate necessary funds to support current students of color in alleviating financial burdens." 

Lead Responsible Party
Ryan Williams, Vice President, Enrollment Services 

Response
The University agrees with this goal. The University agrees that this is a priority in budgeting and fundraising.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Need-based financial aid and certain scholarship are being used on a case-by-case basis to alleviate financial burdens of current students. As of Jan. 23, 13 students have been supported.
  • In the Forever Orange Fundraising Campaign, the University is committed to raising additional scholarships for the Our Time Has Come Scholarship Program to assist African American and Latinx students to alleviate financial burdens. The goal is to double the endowment to $10 million during the campaign.
  • The Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience has committed $500,000 for the summer of 2020 to support internships for undergraduates with financial need. This amount will increase to $1 million for the 2020-2021 academic year.

12. "Individual Diversity be added to the factors considered when admitting students to colleges through the intra-university transfer process."

Lead Responsible Party
Chris Johnson, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs

Response
Intra-university transfer policies vary by school and college. The University commits to working with the Deans to address this concern. The Provost will report on changes to the intra-university transfer process by the end of spring semester.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • Demographic information is already available as part of the intra-university transfer process. Although the form itself is very short, the receiving school/college has access to the full student record where such information is available. The form will be evaluated and amended for improvement.

13. "Agree to the allocation of a minimum of $1 million for the creation of a unified, required curriculum that educates the campus on diversity issues, specifically anti-racism."

Lead Responsible Party
Steve Bennett, Senior Vice President, Academic Operations

Response
The University agrees that the curricular change envisioned in the response to these concerns, including in connection with the changes to SEM 100 in fall 2020 and the new course in fall 2021, will require substantial resources. We believe those resources will be no less than $1 million. The University commits to allocating at least $1 million and whatever additional appropriate resources are needed.

Status Complete

Progress
January 2020—Resolved

  • A $1 million budget has been allocated for FY21 to enhance the SEM 100 programming.
  • A budget assurance of $2 million has been made for FY22 and beyond for the purpose of required courses dedicated to diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

14. "Monthly updates about every long-term demand be sent via email, publicized through Syracuse University media outlets, and the development of a website where demand updates can be tracked by the public."

Lead Responsible Party
Dara Royer, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Response
The University will post monthly updates for this year, including in SU News and SU Today. Beginning in January 2020, a page will be added to the diversity.syr.edu site to track progress on all goals. Going forward the University will assess improvements to all communications so that all in our community receive timely information about all efforts to support our values of diversity and inclusion.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The webpage Syracuse.edu/commitments has been created and is being updated at least once a month.
  • Updates on the students’ concerns will be shared on the SU News website and in the SU Today email.
  • A monthly email from Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office Keith A. Alford will communicate key updates.

15. "Make the diversity training Progress of tenured professors readily available through this public website up to the extent permitted by law. And make the completion of the required diversity and inclusion training part of the requirements for tenure."

Lead Responsible Party
Lavonda Reed, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs

Response
We agree that the terms and conditions of employment for all new faculty and staff will require diversity and inclusion training. All faculty and staff also will complete an annual training in discrimination andunconscious bias as part of required training under state law. In addition to mandatory training, we will continue to enhance programs open to faculty and staff to promote diversity and inclusion. The University will commit to making public aggregate data by school and college each academic year. The University will not violate privacy law by identifying faculty by name, but rather will use accountability measures to enforce compliance. The Provost will hold deans accountable for the performance of their faculty.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • More than 7,000 faculty and staff have completed training covering prevention of sexual and relationship violence, unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and discrimination within the last 12 months.
  • The mandate for faculty training will be published by March 15.
  • The University is committed to making public aggregate training data by school and college each academic year (target deadline Dec. 31). Planning has begun with the Office of Institutional Research and others for a reporting tool.

16. "Syracuse takes initiative to equalize treatment of multicultural Greek Life and acknowledge the unique challenges multicultural Greek life faces."

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

Response
The University agrees with this objective. We will consult with the Multicultural Greek Council on progress on steps to implement this objective.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • University leadership began meeting with members of the Greek community in December and will continue during the spring semester to better understand the concern and create a plan to implement this objective.

17. "The university agrees that when racially-motivated incidents which impacts the larger campus community occur, Administration will respond within a maximum of 48 hours."

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

Response
The University is committed to overhauling our historic reporting process. Pursuant to protocol to be further developed in consultation with all stakeholders, and unless disclosure to the community would impede an investigation, the Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse University administration will inform the community of concerning racially motivated incidents within a maximum of 48 hours.

Status Complete

Progress
January 2020—Resolved

  • The Department of Public Safety 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.

18. "We demand consistent levels of engagement from the Chancellor with minority communities, specifically a mandatory annual State of the University Address as it relates to the student of color experience."

Lead Responsible Party
Chancellor Kent Syverud

Response
Chancellor Syverud will address issues of diversity and inclusion in his January address as well as in update messages at the start of each semester. The Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer will also provide an annual report and update.

Chancellor Syverud and University leaders also commit to working collaboratively with students to create regular opportunities for engagement during the spring semester 2020.

Status Substantially Complete

Progress
January 2020

  • Chancellor Kent Syverud addressed issues of diversity and inclusion to the campus community in his 2020 Winter Message on Jan. 13 in Dineen Hall. In his address, Chancellor Syverud discussed four key topics that are important for the University to become “a world-class model of an academic powerhouse that truly embraces, welcomes and values all people,” including the institution’s commitments to diversity, inclusion and safety. He addressed the hate, fear, racism and anti-Semitism that students and the community were exposed to at the end of the fall semester and discussed the commitments the University has made to address students’ concerns and many actions that have been taken so far, including $5.6 million allocated for diversity and inclusion initiatives, interim steps to address space issues for multicultural students, a new Diversity Opportunity Hires initiative to bolster faculty diversity and allocation of $400,000 to expand the Center for International Services’ programming. A video and text of his remarks are available on SU News.
  • The Chancellor will provide update messages at the start of each semester.
  • Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith A. Alford will provide monthly emails with updates on the progress of students’ concerns and a yearly report. The first monthly email will be sent Jan. 24.
  • Planning is underway to organize opportunities for students to engage with Chancellor Syverud and University leaders during the spring semester.

19. "Syracuse University expands and invests in student volunteer opportunities to better serve underserved and low-income communities in the city of Syracuse."

Lead Responsible Party
Bea Gonzalez, Vice President for Community Engagement

Response
The University is committed to making significant investments in student volunteer opportunities to better serve the underserved and low-income communities in the city of Syracuse.

Status In Progress

Progress
January 2020

  • The University is investing over $300,000 in volunteer opportunities to better serve underserved and low-income communities in the City of Syracuse.