Students rally on behalf of Former Cpl. Joe Shanley

Students gathered together Monday afternoon to protest the position change of Department of Public Safety Officer Joe Shanley.

The voices of the Syracuse University community were heard at a rally held Monday afternoon on behalf of Former Cpl. Joe Shanley after the Department of Public Safety’s Law Enforcement and Community Policing Division modified his position.

More than 50 protestors expressed their support, gathering between Newhouse and Schine Student Center chanting Shanley's name and repeating “save Joe, don’t let him go.” Less than an hour after the protest concluded, DPS released a statement.

Photo: Emily Shearing
Geospatial information science and engineering graduate student at ESF, Paul Ang, helped organize the rally to support DPS Officer Joe Shanley on Monday afternoon.

"To minimize the impact on those whose positions will change, we have revisited the salary issue to eliminate significant downward salary shifts."

Shanley has become a staple on the SU campus, striving to build strong relationships with students since 2007. He previously worked for more than 16 years in the Syracuse Police force. The DPS reorganization is changing Shanley’s — and the positions of many others — from shift commanders and corporals to public safety officers, which left many students questioning the reassignments.

Reducing Shanley’s pay-cut is just one small step in resolving the bigger issue for Paul Ang, a second-year graduate student who organized the rally with three other friends.

“We aren’t asking about salary or benefits, we just want to know who we can expect to be working in community policing,” Ang said. “Who is going to be the one with training and experience to work with students and make sure that they feel comfortable reporting sensitive crimes?”

Seamus Shanley, Officer Shanley’s son and a freshman with an undecided major, attended the rally along with his sister and SU football teammates.

“After seeing all of the students who showed up in support, it inspires me to realize how much of an impact my father has had on the community,” Seamus said.

He believed that his father treated fellow students like they were his own children and those students are still his first concern.

Seamus said his father was overwhelmed when he found out that his position change would limit his interaction with students and feels like he is letting them down. 

“His number one priority is taking care of this campus and every single student that attends Syracuse University,” he said.

Students already feel the void around campus without Shanley’s smiling presence, and some worry that these changes will impact the campus negatively, said Jonathan Foust, a graduate student in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. “If you have somebody that so many different students can depend on and you let somebody like that go, who do students turn to who no longer have someone to look up to?” Foust said. “When you don’t have someone who actually cares about each individual person and not just doing the job then students don’t really know where to go for help when they need it.”

Concerned students are using Facebook pages and the hashtag #SaveJoeSU as a platform to express their outrage and confusion about why such a beloved role model’s position was reassigned.

Will Kievit, a 2009 SU alum tweeted “Cpl. Shanley was there for me on many @SUAmbulance emergency calls & had my back; @syracuseu should have his #SaveJoeSU #UpsetAlumni.”

"He is 'Officer Friendly,' almost everyone knows him,” said Eric McGriff, a politcal philosophy and women and gender studies sophomore. “We have Otto, we have the basketball team, so many memorable aspects of Syracuse University and I think Joe Shanley is part of that SU experience.”

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