SYRACUSE, New York — Student protestors at Syracuse University won a major victory on Thursday, when Chancellor Kent Syverud agreed to a slightly edited list of their 19 demands to make the school safer and more accepting of minority students.
Protests erupted at the upstate New York campus last week in response to the administration’s tepid response to a series of racist incidents against black, Asian, and Jewish students this semester.
A movement called #NotAgainSU was born, and hundreds of students stormed the campus’ main gym last week to hold a sit-in, refusing to leave until the chancellor agreed to all 19 of their demands.
And then something surprising happened. They got what they wanted.
Early Thursday morning, the chancellor agreed to the demands, with some slight tweaks for things out of his control and legal issues.
But it didn’t bring the protest to an end.
The students are now calling for the chancellor’s resignation
Late Thursday, leaders of the movement read a prepared statement in front of those sitting in at the Barnes Center, saying that despite Syverud’s capitulating to their requests, they now want him and a few other leaders in the administration to resign.
They took issue with the fact that Syverud never negotiated with them, but rather sent a lackey to deliver his signed copy of the edited demands.
“We viewed this as a manipulative attempt to take our action out of the public spotlight where we are protected by those who bear witness to our fight,” they wrote in their response.
They said he also should have discussed the legal issues in one of their demands, during the week he had to look over their manifesto.
“[We] have remained firm and stated numerous times that we will not compromise on students’ safety and well-being. therefore we firmly call for the resignation of Chancellor Kent Syverud.
“#NotAgainSU would like to reiterate we gave him a week to sign the demands. During this time period, he did not reach out to any student organizers of #NotAgainSU to discuss our demands….
“Further his administration’s mishandling of the numerous racist and bigoted incidents that occurred over the past two weeks solidifies our lack of confidence in this administration to follow through with our demands,” the statement added.
The fight is far from over
Insider visited the Barnes Center Thursday night after the speech, and found the students there packing up. Earlier in the day, the place was decked out with stacks of donated water bottles, and entire nooks filled with junk food, bedding, and medicine. Insider spoke to their PR director multiple times that day, but he would not give us an official statement on the group’s plans.
It remained unclear whether the students would reoccupy the building after the Thanksgiving Break, which starts Saturday. But it was clear that their fight was far from over.
One of the leaders told the students gathered that this is the “end of our occupation for now” and asked everyone to help clean the space up “so it will be nice when we come back.”
The chancellor’s office did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.