Governor Cuomo issues statement calling for independent investigator
Governor statement calls for an independent investigator
This afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement regarding the investigation of the recent slew of campus hate crimes.
The statement calls for an independent monitor to be brought in to investigate the incidents and says, “Despite his efforts, I do not believe Chancellor Syverud has handled this matter in a way that instills confidence.”
This is the second time the governor has released a statement about the incidents in the last week.
The full text is as follows:
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO TO THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES CALLING FOR THE INSTALLATION OF A MONITOR TO INVESTIGATE SURGE OF CAMPUS HATE CRIMES
“This nation faces many issues, but at the top of the list is the growing racial, ethnic and religious division that attempts to make diversity a weakness rather than a strength.
“We see it all across the nation and even across the great state of New York. Anti-Semitic, anti-African American, anti-Muslim American, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Asian American, anti-Italian American incidents and more have all increased.
“Hate groups like the Proud Boys (better referred to as the Bigot Boys) claimed responsibility for actions in New York City just this week. Our policy must be ‘Zero Tolerance.’
“The hateful activities at Syracuse University are most disturbing, not only to the Syracuse University community, but to the greater community of New York. They have not been handled in a manner that reflects this state’s aggressive opposition to such odious, reckless, reprehensible behavior. That these actions should happen on the campus of a leading New York university makes this situation even worse.
“Despite his efforts, I do not believe Chancellor Syverud has handled this matter in a way that instills confidence.
“I believe the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University should immediately bring in an experienced monitor with the relevant expertise to effectively investigate these incidents, clearly communicate the facts with the Board and to the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force and recommend a decisive strategy to address both the specific incidents and behavior. In the meantime, I am directing the Task Force to expand their previous investigations to include the recent reports of a white supremacist ‘manifesto’ being digitally disseminated to Syracuse University students in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
“As we have learned repeatedly, these increasing exhibitions of hate and bigotry must be handled strongly, swiftly and justly. That must be both the reality and the perception. Syracuse University and its leadership have failed to do that. It is your obligation to remedy the situation immediately.”
SU’s Interfraternity Council released a video address Sunday evening on its Instagram page regarding the hate crimes on campus this past week.
IFC president Connor Dennewitz and executive vice president Anthony Licata denounced the assaults on behalf of the Greek organization that represents 15 social fraternities.
“These actions have absolutely no place and no right to exist in our fraternity council, the Greek community, and definitely not in our campus community,” Dennewitz said in the video.
“We the Interfraternity Council collectively demand that the university immediately expel the despicable rogues who spouted these heinous slurs to one of our peers,” Licata said.
This is the first time a student group other than #NotAgainSU has publicly demanded expulsion as punishment for the suspected perpetrators.
Licata went on to say he is a university conduct board member himself and believes his peers “will move swiftly and quickly and banish the perpetrator from Syracuse University.”
Following the address, Dennewitz said he would be signing an executive order to indefinitely remove the perpetrators’ fraternity chapter from affiliation and participation within the council. This means that the chapter can not operate on campus or associate with any of its member groups, the other 15 social fraternities, or it’s Panhellenic counterparts, Syracuse’s 13 social sororities.
Prior to this recent slew of hate crimes, the Interfratenrity Council had scheduled programming for its member chapters from the Office of Multicultural Affairs as well as the Office of Health Promotions at the Barnes Center, according to Dennewitz. He then promised to continue and enhance that curriculum.
“In the meantime, we ask that our fellow students, faculty, staff, and friend in the media to not mislabel this particular incident as a byproduct or a caricature of the larger fraternity community as a whole. This is an extremely marginal case of people who do not belong within our community, which is made up of thousands of amiable and tolerant individuals coming from all walks of life,” Licata said.
A video address featuring Chancellor Syverud, Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado, Dean of Students Marianne Thompson and Interim Vice Chancellor John Liu was sent to the Syracuse University community at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The video addresses the eight bias-related crimes committed on SU’s campus over the past 10 days, including the verbal assault of a black student at College Place Saturday night. Each administrator spoke to the priorities and efforts of their respective offices.
The video begins with Syverud expressing his “deep appreciation of the pain, anger and anxiety recent events have caused on our campus” before detailing SU’s response to the College Place attack, which includes the suspension of Alpha Chi Rho, a fraternity whose members are allegedly responsible for the assault, as well as the suspension of fraternity sponsored social events for the remainder of the semester.
Syverud describes the suspension as an opportunity for “our fraternities and our whole university to reflect on how to prevent this very troubling behavior in the future.”
Maldonado followed the Chancellor, outlining new DPS initiatives such as “two new shuttles …providing service between College Place, and East Neighborhood, and South Campus locations,” and reiterating previously announced efforts such as increasing officer shifts from 10 to 16 hours.
Thomson articulated that the Office of Student Experience is currently “reviewing and revising our code of student conduct, hiring and retaining a diverse staff to support and serve our students.” Specifics of the intended changes were not shared. Additionally, Thomson alludes to changes being made in regards to residence hall staff and operations, though no specific steps were listed.
Liu defined four specific areas of focus for reform: “First, our curriculum. Second, inclusive teaching. Third, diversity training. And fourth, diversifying our faculty,” noting that plans will “be specific” and “outline real action and true deadlines.” While no concrete initiatives were rolled out, Liu did call for student’s continued “help and approval” in efforts to reform the curriculum and student life moving forward.
The message ended with Syverud, who noted that further updates will be released early this week, and that specific plans will be shared “soon.” There was no specific reference to Nov. 20, the deadline set by #NotAgainSU for the administration to present a full, written plan of action for meeting their list of demands.
The Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, or “Crow,” has been suspended from operating after members of the fraternity and guests of members were allegedly involved in the verbal assault of an African-American student on College Place last night.
In his email to the university community this morning, Chancellor Kent Syverud did not name the fraternity involved. But this morning the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs website was updated to list Alpha Chi Rho’s chapter status as suspended. Their fraternity house sits at 131 College Place.
The Interfraternity Council released a statement regarding the suspension on Instagram saying, “There is no place for intolerance on our campus, and we will work to ensure that this never happens again.”
The assault on college place was reported to the university community via Department of Public Safety at about 10:20 p.m. last night, and said that DPS was reviewing evidence including security camera footage in order to identify those involved.
Syracuse Univesity Chancellor Kent Syverud sent the following email to the Syracuse Univesity community early Sunday morning.
On Saturday night, a black student reported being verbally assaulted near the Department of Public Safety offices near College Place.
Syverud said a fraternity involved in the incident has been suspended until police complete the investigation.