#NotAgainSU dissatisfied with stall in negotiations

#NotAgainSU dissatisfied with stall in negotiations

Protestors want to resume talks with SU administrators before spring break.
Published: March 10, 2020
#NotAgainSU press conference - March 10, 2020
Ronald McGuire, #NotagainSU's civil rights attorney, joins three student protestors at Tuesday's press conference at Crouse-Hinds Hall.

Unsatisfied with last week’s negotiations with Syracuse University officials, #NotAgainSU organizers urged administrators to continue negotiations, as students enter their 23rd day occupying Crouse-Hinds Hall.

The Black, student-led movement entered negotiations last week with 34 demands. These included establishing multicultural living spaces in every building, freezing tuition so it does not increase every year and disarming Department of Public Safety officers. Following more than 14 hours of talks, both sides disputed what progress was made.

“This movement is not about isolated incidents of hate,” an unidentified organizer said at #NotAgainSU’s Tuesday press conference. “The movement is about changing the systems of oppression that are upheld by the administration at this university.”

Ronald McGuire, a civil rights attorney representing #NotAgainSU, said SU needs to acknowledge what its leaders did and why they did it.

“Why they did it is two words: white supremacy,” McGuire said.

#NotAgainSU press conference - March 10, 2020
One of #NotagainSU's unnamed leaders speaks at Tuesday's press conference.

SU suspended more than 30 students on Feb. 17, the first night of the sit-in. It lifted those suspensions two days later.

McGuire said that the university committed a civil rights violation by denying protestors access to food, medicine and essentials that SU demonstrators have historically been granted. The university sealed off the building Feb. 18, not allowing outside food or medicine to enter until Feb. 19. The university said it provided lunch and dinner to protesters, and that protesters were allowed to leave at any time, and were encouraged to do so.

Protesters said on social media they were afraid they would be arrested on grounds of trespassing if they left the building, due to their interim suspensions.

At Tuesday’s press conference, an organizer said one of the students who was suspended lost their job, missing three weeks of work.

Organizers said that there have been serious personal, academic and financial ramifications for protesters. Their goal is to get the university back to the negotiating table before spring break.

“We would like to stop occupying this building,” an organizer said. “We would like to finish negotiations, and we want to move forward.”

#NotAgainSU’s public announcements came only a half-hour after SU announced it would be moving all on-campus classes online until at least March 30 as a preventative step to avoid the novel coronavirus outbreak and are asking all students to leave for spring break.

Organizers would not confirm whether they will continue their occupation through spring break. In response to a question about coronavirus, organizers said they disinfect every morning.

“Especially when parents are coming,” one organizer said.

#NotAgainSU press conference - March 10, 2020
#NotAgainSU supporters look on during Tuesday' press conference in the Crouse-Hinds Hall lobby.