Faced with controversy

Faced with Syracuse's controversy

In the wake of the Theta Tau video scandal, more than a dozen students offer their thoughts as to what life is like at Syracuse University.
Published: May 8, 2018 | Updated: May 9th, 2018 at 11:46 am

Following the revelation of multiple offensive videos and Syracuse University’s subsequent expulsion of Theta Tau, the campus community saw a wave of protests, conversations and media briefings. Several SU schools hosted forums for students and faculty to share their thoughts about inclusion and diversity on campus.

Students have encouraged university officials to listen to students who see and face the discrimination themselves on campus nearly every day. The fraternity’s videos revealed the many strides the university has to take, students explained, because they show evidence that racism and discrimination still persists.

The audio interviews and photos below were collected by News Writing students at the Newhouse School in late April to gauge the perspectives and sentiments among a cross section of students.

Campus Climate Interview - Carolina Sanchez de Varona - April 2018
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Yeah, I mean, everyone has freedom of speech, but you’re a human being — you know what to say and what not to say. What they said was not moral at all.- Ryley Ireland, industrial design freshman

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"You can be on the same floor with someone that despises you because of your skin color and thinks that way of you, so I was just shocked that that happened. What they did in the video was just appalling and very shocking what they’ve done in the video."-Georgia Barton, nutrition freshman

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"Me personally, I deal with this every day. This video was kind of like the reveal. Most of the times you tell people about things you experience, but they wouldn’t take you seriously until they see things like this."- Serena Omo-Lamcei, bioengineering sophomore

"As an Asian American woman I do experience these at times, and I think it’s easy for a lot of people to walk by and say certain things as a joke passing by, but they don’t realize it is something that impacts a lot of people. It’s called ‘microaggression.’ ”- Christine Hon, public relations sophomore

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“It’s on us to be honest. Whenever there’s been change in history, it’s been the oppressed groups coming together and then forcing the people in power to create change.”- Steph Millan, environmental engineering sophomore

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"One day is not enough. One year is not enough. And they must continuously at all times always be working to better the community for all, to make it more inclusive, more accessible and a safer environment for every student."-Liam McMonagle, broadcast and digital journalism and political science sophomore

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"These are your students. We work because you allow us to, and if you’re trying to hide something from us, it’s really not a two way street."- Ysabel Liwanag, information and technology management and magazine freshman

"There’s plenty of people of color here that are angry, and rightfully so, about the incident. Hear what they have to say. Hear what they are saying. Listen to their ideas."- Akeem Lovell, communication and rhetorical studies junior

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"I identify as an African-American. I don’t really think about it that much. I have never been big on the racial stuff. Like I said it has never affected me, and I don’t really identify with a certain race because I don’t see the point."- Connor Laurent, finance and accounting freshman

"It's like mockery of who they are and what they do and how they live their lives. It's like your life is this subject of jokes and just mockery."- Pauline Gitau, computer science sophomore

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"I think they should be treated the same. This could happen in a social or a professional Greek life fraternity or sorority because Theta Tau was a professional, but people saw it more as a social frat, and they still did things that they weren’t supposed to do. So it could happen in any frat or sorority."- Isaiah Alexis, electrical engineering freshman

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"I don’t know if Theta Tau as an organization had to be disbanded from the university because of the actions of a few students. Maybe they wanted to be held accountable because they didn’t know students indulged in activities like that."-Priya Patel, public policy senior

“Being a school in a pretty progressive state shows that we can think like that, but with this whole Theta Tau thing it shows that even though we’re here, it can still happen.”- Julian Miller, undecided freshman

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“Syracuse’s image is what it’s always been, but it’s just being portrayed in reality. It’s not in the media as just a basketball school right now, or just this sports school, the D1 school. It’s in the media for the things that actually go on here on this campus that a lot of people know about — the racism that exists here, the discrimination — and they just ignore it and act like it doesn’t happen.”- Eliza Roberts, communication and rhetorical studies freshman

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“Love will always put the hate down.”
- Matthew Gutierrez, newspaper and online journalism and finance junior

Presentation produced by Connor Fogel with audio and photo editing by Michael Burke, Alexa Diaz and Laura Superina.