Syracuse University protests continue after a series of racist incidents on campus have left students outraged. The latest demonstration involves the occupation of a campus building, Crouse-Hinds Hall, with protestors staying there past closing time. Now demonstrators are being punished by the administrations and protestors say they’re even trying to starve them out of food.
Most of the protests around campus have been led by Black students under a collective known as #NotAgainSU. Their months-long fight is in response to a series of racist incidents on campus, many of which began in November. Bathrooms on campus were vandalized with racist graffiti against Black and Asian people, swastikas were spotted in locations around campus, and a Black female student was called the N-word by Alpha Chi Rho fraternity members, just to name a few.
Since the incidents, students have been fighting for a list of demands that would make for a safer environment, would bring awareness to racism on campus and would implement more diversity within the administration and curriculums. Protestors have also called for the resignation of certain school officials, including Chancellor Kent Syverud and Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado.
Crouse-Hinds Hall, which houses the offices of Chancellor Syverud and other university administrations, closes at 9 p.m. When students wouldn’t leave past closing time, a Department of Public Safety officer gave organizers a letter at 12:50 a.m. saying they were suspended, effective immediately, according to an organizer. More than 30 members of #NotAgainSU have been placed on interim suspension, according to The Daily Orange. According to the #NotAgainSU Instagram page, a Black female student who never participated in the Crouse-Hinds Hall occupation also received a letter of suspension.
Rob Hradsky, senior associate vice president of the student experience and dean of students, told students at 9 p.m. that they’d be placed under interim suspension for violating SU’s Code of Student Conduct if they continued to occupy the building past closing.
According to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, interim suspension is temporary and “is based on the determination that the safety and well-being of the University community or specific persons are at risk.” According to the #NotAgainSU organizers, Hradsky has not been able to adequately explain how they were risking the safety of the University community.
“The student demonstrators were invited to continue their peaceful protests through the evening in Bird Library, which is open 24 hours, and return to Crouse Hinds Hall in the morning,” said Sarah Scalese, senior associate vice president for university communications. “They declined that invitation.”
A few organizers left the building as of 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, bringing blankets to the outside of Crouse-Hinds. They stood in the 27-degree weather wrapped in blankets and they even considered camping outside overnight.
“It’s round two,” an organizer outside the building said.
#NotAgainSU called for people to support the protestors still inside via the group’s Instagram story. As of 10:45 p.m., around 35 students still remained outside. As of 11 p.m., organizers were told that outside food wouldn’t be allowed in the building, according to an organizer. Demonstrators inside were snacking on chips and other small foods, added the organizer.
“Let food in,” chanted students outside.
The school’s refusal to let food inside was recorded in a video, according to #NotAgainSU Instagram page. According to the caption, officials were letting “essentials” inside the building but this didn’t include food.
“Just when #NotAgainSU protesters inside Crouse-Hinds were told that ‘essentials’ were being allow into the building, a DPS officer searched our bags and threw food outside onto the ground,” reads the caption. “‘Essentials’ are being labeled only as medical and hygiene products . It is clear that the administration is trying to starve us out and silence our student voice. We pay $52,000+ to be dehumanized and treated like prisoners. Please come outside Crouse-Hinds and continue to protest these injustices.”
Student organizers also accused DPS of assaulting student protestors and provided video.
You can stay up to date on the student movement via #NotAgainSU’s Instagram page.