Syracuse police make arrest in pro-protest graffiti incidents

Police make arrest in pro-protest graffiti incidents

An 18-year-old Syracuse University freshman was charged after graffiti was discovered in and around Irving Garage and Bird Library
Published: November 14, 2019

Student arrested for graffiti supporting ongoing protests
November 21, 2019 11:12 am

The Syracuse Police Department said Thursday it arrested an 18-year-old Syracuse University freshman after new graffiti markings were discovered in and around Irving Garage and Bird Library.

Syracuse Police announced that Kym McGowan was arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief in the fourth degree and making graffiti. McGowan, who is listed in the SU Directory as a College of Engineering and Computer Science freshman, was released on an appearance ticket.

The Syracuse Police’s statement said the graffiti appears to support ongoing campus protests.

SU’s Department of Public Safety is currently investigating four other graffiti incidents. Two occurred in Day Hall on the 5th and 6th floors and both involved derogatory graffiti toward African Americans. The third incident was a post-it note with language that is offensive towards Native Americans found on the first floor of Flint Hall. The fourth incident occurred at the Comstock Art facility where racist graffiti targeting Asians was found.

DPS asks that anyone with information about these incidents call (315) 443-2224. Community members who want to report anonymously can use the Silent Witness tool.

SU professor targeted via email
November 20, 2019 4:00 pm

Editors Note: The following article mentions threats involving anti-Semitic slurs.

On Tuesday morning an anti-semitic email was sent anonymously to a Syracuse faculty member. Genevieve García de Müeller, a professor of Rhetoric and Composition, was targeted personally in her inbox. She then took to Twitter, posting the threat saying, “I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe. Threats won’t stop me.”

This afternoon, the Department of Public Safety released an informational notice saying they are working in conjunction with the Syracuse Police Department, the FBI and the New York State Police on investigating the threat.

“The threat contained anti-Semitic language and was threatening in nature. It was first reported to the Department of Public Safety yesterday morning; the threat was then directed to the Syracuse Police Department, who is the lead agency on the investigation,” the notice read.

They currently have no suspects.

The email notice added, “If you have any information about this crime, contact Syracuse Police directly at 315.442.5111
To anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information for DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool. To report a bias incident or to receive support, visit the Stop Bias website.”

Shooting threat to Brewster/Boland/Brockway hall circulates
November 20, 2019 12:30 am

Students huddled together around the front desk of Brewster/Boland/Brockway hall Tuesday afternoon, peppering RAs and dormitory staff with questions. They had just received a screenshot of a text thread in which gun threats were made to the dormitory. While DPS officers filtered into the building, many students moved in the opposite direction to other dormitories, nearby hotels, or, in some cases, back home to begin Thanksgiving break early.

The past two weeks at Syracuse University have been ravaged by a relentless stream of incidents rooted in racism and anti-Semitism, so for the freshmen living in BBB, the message felt less like a surprise and more like an inevitability. While DPS described the threat as “misinformation,” many students began packing bags and making overnight arrangements within minutes of the news. In the lobby, students could be heard calling out to one another to leave. One young woman shouted, “Just get out of here now.”

The threat to BBB, according to DPS, was not credible. But the speed and impact of its circulation exemplified the frantic energy on SU’s campus. Now that there have been reports of incidents in which individuals were physically approached by aggressors (the first being the verbal assault of a Black woman on college place Saturday night, and then Monday night’s news of a naked man approaching and following students), there’s a palpable fear of imminent danger on campus.

Chief: 'We've went through a lot. ... No student should have to go through that'
November 19, 2019 4:15 pm

Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said he empathizes with Syracuse University students Tuesday afternoon at a news conference that also featured speakers from the Department of Public Safety, New York State Police and FBI.

Video by Bobby Manning

Racist graffiti found in Comstock Art Facility
November 19, 2019 11:00 am

Graffiti with hostile language towards Asian students was found in the hallway of the ComArt Building at approximately 10 a.m. this morning.

An email was sent to all art students about the incident that also excused them from class.

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Ally Walsh, a junior photo student, said she came in through the side door of the building and didn’t see the graffiti with her own eyes, but heard about it once she got to class.

“I didn’t see it, but photos were taken and then (graduate) students in my class, after DPS got there, reported it and painted over it,” she said.

As the morning went on, more professors emailed students making class attendance optional and excusing absences.

Madi Goldberg, a junior, said in a direct message on Instagram that “something is not okay” because DPS spoke to Chanel 9 before informing the students.

“I am wondering what ‘SUorangealert’ is used for if not to reach students in times of threat and emergency,” she said in a message. “It will only get worse from here.”

She said that some of her friends are leaving campus out of fear for their safety. She urged her peers still on campus to stay safe.

Manifesto reported on campus
November 19, 2019 11:02 am

Department of Public Safety issued a campus alert around 4 a.m. after receiving multiple reports of a white supremacist document shared in an online forum, as well as allegedly airdropped to multiple students in Bird Library.

DPS issued another notice at 10:15 a.m. stressing that there was no immediate threat to campus.

According to the early morning notice, DPS has not found the person responsible and has reported the incident to Syracuse Police Department, the New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

DPS urged students on campus to use caution, suggesting the use of a safety escort or using the LiveSafe app, which acts like the blue light system on smartphones.

Concerned for the safety of students on campus, Renegade Magazine and the #NotAgainSU Instagram posted statements overnight calling for classes to be canceled.

More racist graffiti found in Day Hall
November 18, 2019 9:40 pm

At 9:03 p.m. Monday night the Syracuse University community was informed of another instance of racist graffiti in Day Hall, this time on the fifth floor. The announcement reads as follows:

“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is actively investigating the discovery of racist graffiti using language that is derogatory to African Americans on the 5th floor in Day Hall. DPS officers are there now interviewing residents. No additional information is available at this time.”

This report marked the fourth instance of racist graffiti found in Day Hall, a freshman dormitory at SU, in the past 10 days. Despite national media coverage and the assurance of the SU administration that students found responsible for the hateful acts committed will be punished, the spree continues.

SU student gets verbally assaulted in front of DPS office Saturday night
November 16, 2019 11:45 pm

The Department of Public Safety has sent out an email stating that they are currently investigating another bias-related incident, the verbal assault of a black woman by a large crowd. They are currently reviewing evidence, including video footage of the event.

The full text of the announcement reads as follows:

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is currently investigating a bias incident that occurred a short time ago near College Place. An African American female reported being verbally harassed by a large group of individuals who reportedly were yelling the “N-word” as she walked by. There was no physical altercation. DPS met with the complainant and is in the process of reviewing evidence, including security camera footage.

If you have information about these incidents, please call the DPS at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information for DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool. To report a bias incident or to receive support, visit the Stop Bias website.

DPS will continue their investigation into the assault, along with the seven other bias-related crimes that have been committed this weekend.

Two more hate crimes discovered in residence halls 
November 16, 2019 10:30 pm

Two new bias related instances of vandalism have been announced by the Syracuse Department of Public Safety. An email from DPS, shared at 6:20 p.m. tonight, details the incidents and reads as follows:

The Department of Public Safety is currently investigating two bias incidents that were recently reported. The first incident occurred at Haven Hall, where anti-Semitic graffiti depicting a swastika was discovered. The graffiti was quickly removed. DPS has no suspects at this time. 

The second incident occurred at Sadler Hall. A student reported that another student was loudly yelling a racial epithet that is derogatory to African Americans. DPS is working to identify the individual responsible. 

Additionally, we are aware of a hateful email being directed to several members of our community. That email has been forwarded to the Syracuse Police Department and they have initiated an investigation. 

If you have information about these incidents, please call the DPS at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information for DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool. To report a bias incident or to receive support, visit the Stop Bias website

These incidents mark the sixth and seventh cases of racism on campus this week, this time targeting the Black and Jewish communities. Despite ongoing protests in the Barnes Center, held by student group #NotAgainSU, the University and DPS have apprehended no suspects at this time. As the protests continue, students are eagerly awaiting any news signaling active steps on the part of the University to end this stream of hate crimes.

Fifth incident of racist graffiti this week found in Haven Hall
November 16, 2019 12:00 am

Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety released a statement at 2:37 p.m. today that another report of racist graffiti is being investigated in Haven Hall.

Chief of DPS Bobby Maldonado followed up that statement with an email, writing, “We also received a report of a potential bias incident overnight at Day Hall. However, at this stage in the investigation, we do not have enough evidence to verify this incident was motivated by bias. We continue to actively investigate this report. We will communicate to the broader community when we have accurate and confirmed information.”

He then listed measures that DPS is taking to increase safety and security on and around campus. They read follows:

  • DPS officers have switched from 10- to 16-hour shifts. This will double our workforce and presence.
  • As a reminder, we recently enhanced our safety escort program to include both shuttle and walking escorts.
  • DPS officers are increasing enhanced property checks conducted.
  • DPS officers are vigilantly and proactively communicating with students to elicit any information that would lead to identifying the perpetrators.
  • DPS is working with the Syracuse Police Department and the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to actively investigate the previously reported incidents.
  • In addition to the aforementioned measures, as shared previously by Chancellor Syverud, we are distributing DPS Public Informational Notices when we verify bias incidents.

This is the fifth incident of racist graffiti reported on Syracuse University’s campus this week, and the fourth targeting Asian students. The email was sent out as #NotAgainSu’s ongoing protest in the Barnes center reached it’s 78th hour, at which time students were speaking with Syracuse Basketball coach Jim Boeheim on his public statement regarding the incidents.

The protest continues its fourth day with students speaking to university officials, politicians, and activists as they continue their fight for recognition from the school and compliance with their list of demands.

SU's fourth racist vandalism incident in past week
November 15, 2019 12:10 am

Late Thursday evening the Syracuse University community was notified of another bias incident in Day Hall involving racist vandalism.

According to the notice sent at 11:30 p.m., “Graffiti that maligns the Asian community was discovered on the third floor of Day Hall.”

This report comes only hours after the Center for International Services held a forum for Asian students to discuss the recent incidents of racial slurs being used to vandalize bulletin board in Day Hall and a bathroom in the Physics Building.

The email came from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) as an informational notice that asks anyone with information to report it to DPS.

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This is the fourth instance of racist property defamation in the last seven days on and surrounding the SU campus, including third recorded instances of racist graffiti in Day Hall.

Swastika drawn in the snow on Comstock
November 14, 2019 7:15 pm

Residents of the 505 on Walnut apartment complex reported Thursday night hateful images drawn in the snow on the corner of Comstock Avenue and Comstock Place — marking the third instance of offensive vandalism in and around the Syracuse University campus in less than a week.

At 4:30 p.m., The Daily Orange first reported the sighting of a swastika drawn in the snow outside of the apartment complex that predominantly houses SU students. Photos of the swastika were also posted on social media including Instagram.

SU Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith Alford sent a campuswide email at 5:40 p.m. alerting the campus to the incident. However, he never referred to the swastika specifically, instead referring to it as “the hateful display of Anti-Semitism.”

“I join everyone in our community in vehemently condemning this vile behavior targeting the Jewish faith,” Alford wrote.

Alford’s email was issued through the SU News listservs rather than a bias incident issued by the Department of Public Safety. Students who attended the Tuesday open forum demanded that all bias incidents be reported the same way as other crimes on campus are made public and in a timely manner.

Alford noted that the Department of Public Safety notified the Syracuse Police Department of the incident, and they are actively investigating the case.

The notification went out as another public forum was taking place at HBC Gifford Auditorium for Asian students by the Center for International Services.

Statement from Keith Alford, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Nov. 14, 2019

We have just learned of the hateful display of Anti-Semitism that occurred just steps from our campus. I join everyone in our community in vehemently condemning this vile behavior targeting the Jewish faith. We must continue to work together to build trust, to effect change and create a community in which every individual is respected and valued. Our Department of Public Safety immediately notified the Syracuse Police Department, which is actively investigating the case.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh also released a statement Thursday evening condemning the racist graffiti incidents on campus. His response comes a day after New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo denounced the acts of hate on campus.

“These acts are designed to divide our community, and they have no place in Syracuse. They violate everything our City stands for and all that we are working to be — a city that embraces diversity and creates opportunity for all,” Walsh’s statement read.

Second incident of racist graffiti found
November 14, 2019 8:00 am

Early Thursday morning, the Syracuse university community received it’s first bias incident reporting email from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) since racial slurs were discovered a week ago written in Day Hall.

The email notification was sent out at about 3:20 a.m., and said another incident of racist graffiti had been reported on campus, this time in an academic building.

“Graffiti using language that is derogatory to Asian individuals and vandalism were discovered in a bathroom stall in the Physics Building,” the email said.

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This early morning email comes after a slew of students voiced concerns at Tuesday night’s open forum about the lack of communication between students and the university about the Day Hall graffiti.


The racist vandalism in Day Hall was reported to the DPS on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 8, but the university community was not notified of the incident until Monday, Nov. 11 at 5:20 p.m. after multiple student groups called on the university administration for transparency.

This second investigation began while the #NotAgainSU student launched sit-in in the Barnes Center at the Arch is still ongoing. Student protestors slept on the lobby floor overnight alongside their list of demands for change.