Syracuse University has issued a public statement after two floors in a dorm building was reportedly vandalized with racial slurs on November 6.
A slur against Asian people was sprawled on a bulletin board on the fourth floor of Day Hall, while the N-word was written on the sixth-floor bathroom ceiling lights which had been pulled down and thrown in the toilet, according to the Daily Orange
Since the incident, Syracuse University has been criticized for its lack of transparency and communication regarding the act of vandalism.
Two meetings were held following the incident, one on Saturday and the other on the following day. However, the university failed to hold a hall wide meeting and students were warned not to record the meeting held on Sunday. An official announcement was not sent to the campus community until 5:20 p.m. on Sunday, days after the incident occurred.
Vice President for the student experience, Rob Hradsky, allegedly wrote in an email that a Department of Public Safety investigation was ongoing and that the university regrets “not communicating more broadly.”
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Students and residents on the affected floors expressed their frustrations with the SU officials, while some residents took matters into their own hands by sharing videos of the incident on social media.
“I’ve just been thinking about the way the school handles itself, and I’ve been pretty mad since I got here,” Day Hall resident Vrijmoet told The Daily Orange. “I really just want to take action in any way I can.”
The university’s Student Association released a statement criticizing the lack of transparency from officials, urging the school to provide more information “immediately.”
“The Student Association expects a distinct level of transparency from the university’s administration, a level that we have not yet seen in regards to this issue,” it read.
According to Renegade Magazine, Syracuse University’s only Black general interest magazine, the university allegedly attempted to prevent the information from being leaked to the press.
The Instagram post read, “Once notified of the actions, the Chief of DPS, the Chief Diversity Officer, the Dean of Students, and an administrator told the residents on the floors to not spread any photos or videos of the incident … We can’t let them cover this up.”
Students have since released a list of short term and long term demands from the Syracuse University officials, stating that similar racist incidents have taken place over recent years. If the demands are not met by November 20, the students will call for the resignation of Chancellor Kent Syverud and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith Alford.
The chancellor has reportedly called on his staff to communicate more openly and quickly regarding the investigation, stating that he was disappointed with the poor communication across the university.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has also directed the state Division of Human Rights and New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation, Syracuse.com
Cuomo has also urged the university to take this racist incident seriously.