Crouse-Hinds Hall returns to business while protest persists
Protests persist as Crouse-Hinds re-opens
Crouse-Hinds Hall opened for business again Thursday, but anyone passing through the building would encounter #NotAgainSU protestors camped out on the main lobby for the fourth day.
As of Thursday afternoon, a few dozen students spread out across the common area, working on laptops or huddling for conversations. Bags of food and supplies donated by faculty and staff were piled up along the wall.
Admissions tours for high schoolers considering Syracuse University started again, however, some classes scheduled in the building were still relocated across campus.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced that suspensions had been lifted for student protestors who have been staging an around-the-clock sit-in since Monday afternoon. Donations of food, water and other personal supplies to the protesters were also allowed in.
While Crouse-Hinds is beginning to function again, protestors inside said they will remain steadfast to their demands, however, they are experiencing feelings of general exhaustion with SU’s administration and media coverage.
In its fourth day of a sit-in, the #NotAgainSU student protestors continued to build its close-knit community inside Crouse-Hinds Hall.
With the SU building once again open from 7 a.m-9 p.m., #NotAgainSU supporters who had been rallying outside since Monday night were able to join the cohort at the core of the protest inside.
The activists wrapped themselves in oversized blankets while working on their laptops, ate food from the stash of donations provided by faculty and staff and huddled on seats and couches in the lobby to discuss the current situation. Lines of high school students walked through the lobby on their way to a SU Admissions session, while taking notice of dozens of “Make SU Safe Again” posters plastered across the windows.
Although the suspensions of the protestors have been rescinded, frustrations remain about the authenticity of the administration and the SU’s overall handling of the protests.
One student protestor said there has been a shift in media coverage since Wednesday’s University Senate meeting.
“They are painting the administration narrative where Chancellor Kent Syverud is seen as a white savior,” the organizer said. “Coverage like that is damaging to movements like this. … What does it mean to the students who are actively fighting for these rights?”
“I can’t actively say I feel comfortable with any student of a marginalized community coming to this campus,” they added.
The student organizer said it’s hard to tell when exactly the sit-in at Crouse-Hinds will end as the administration has yet to meet their latest demands.
“This is a day-by-day process. We are in this space now and we will continue to fight for what’s right.”
With the #NotAgainSU protests proceeding on Thursday, a student among those occupying Crouse-Hinds Hall explained that the group recognizes that systemic changes take time. Listen to the audio interview that follows.
Shortly after Wednesday’s University Senate meeting where Chancellor Kent Syverud lifted suspensions for the #NotAgainSU protestors occupying Crouse-Hinds Hall, the student group announced a forum of their own.
“As clearly depicted at the University Senate meeting, Chancellor Syverud and the rest of the administration are constantly spreading a false narrative. #NotAgainSU would like to invite students, faculty, administration, and community members to a forum,” the Instagram post read, with the students inside the building joining the meeting through Skype.
In #NotAgainSU’s opening statement, they stated that they would continue their protest in Crouse-Hinds despite Syverud’s comments due to the many wrongdoings of the administration over the past three days.
Through video chat, members of the group detailed their complaints against SU, including “racial profiling and surveillance via facial recognition,” referring to the methods used by the administration to identify protestors to place on interim suspension.
SU Student Experience Vice President Robert Hradsky stated that building camera footage and DPS body cameras were used for identification purposes, which lead to four Black women and a Latin woman who were not in the building being accidentally suspended. They also discussed Black Crouse-Hinds staff not being allowed to enter the space while their white counterparts were let through, DPS officers denying protestors medical supplies and discarding food provided by outside supporters as well as food being used as a pawn to persuade students to negotiate with the administration.
A major grievance #NotAgainSU students had with the current situation was the multiple acts of violence against students of color by DPS officers, especially those committed by the Department of Public Safety Associate Chief John Sardino. They highlighted many of these instances in a Feb. 18 “Daily Crime Log” including an incident where Sardino physically assaulted those attempting to deliver food to protestors. During the altercation, Sardino reached for his holster, as documented on video on the #NotAgainSU Instagram page. They reiterated their call for his resignation in the statement.
The group asserted that they would continue their protest as none of their demands had been met by the administration, and none of the more than two dozens hate crimes that have occurred over the past school year have been solved.
“It is apparent that the administration is not just complicit but perpetuating racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness on this campus,” the statement read. “Please continue to hold the inadequate administration accountable.”