Syracuse University Students Facing Disciplinary Action in Response to 2 Week Sit-In

For two weeks a group of student activists has staged a sit-in at Syracuse University’s Crouse-Hinds Hall, which could result in disciplinary action being taken against the students involved.

This group of protesters calls itself THE General Body and has held strong in the sit-in for 15 straight days without interruption. These students are camped out in the administrative building, which houses the chancellor’s office. The very chancellor that they are demanding involve the student body in the decision making process when it comes to issues that impact them.

THE General Body has cited the catalysts for the two week stand off as the recent closing of the Advocacy Center for rape victims, removal of scholarships for inner-city students, low graduate assistant wages, little to no support for the mental health of students and many other issues within the university’s administration. After presenting the chancellor with this list of issue and more, the coalition is saying that they have been met with stony silence from him and other officials.

Last Friday, students were delivered sealed copies of the code of student conduct in envelopes with their names and student ID numbers. Each of the rules the students are said to be breaking were highlighted as well. Not long before the envelopes were hand delivered by the assistant general counsel, a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union and a law professor left. Some among the students activists feels this was an attempt to intimidate the group.

A Syracuse spokesman, Kevin Quinn, told The Huffington Post the opposite in a written statement. “This was not intimidation. Rather, in keeping with our commitment to provide appropriate due process, the University has committed to giving the students advance notice should plans be made to initiate Code of Students Conduct charges. No such plans are currently in place.”

Attempts to give the students a heads up in regards to possible charges against them, were denied by the university according to tenured law professor, Janis L. McDonald. She fired off an email to her colleagues at the university after being denied access to the students on Saturday. A portion of her email said, “This is outrageous and an abuse of all that should be respected about our students and their rights to the most basic access to lawyers to advise them abut their situation.”

A “final” offer was presented to activists a week ago, on November 13 as was an email that reached everyone on campus. Chancellor Kent Syverud said in his email, “I apologize that the decisions about the Advocacy Center, as well as the Posse Program, have caused this to occur. I have sincerely tried to engage and seek opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to provide their thoughts and opinions for students, faculty, staff and alumni to provide their thoughts and opinions on these important issues. However, I recognize some in our community have felt left out, and I regret that.”

The students confirmed receipt of the “final” offer and say it was missing the solid action plan that they were looking for. The activists also noted that university officials stopped responding after the email from Syverud’s was sent.

The activists have said that locking in a sold agreement on the main points of issue will end the sit-in, but until then, they will remain.

Syracuse University faculty members are showing an increasing support of THE General Body with letters that have been posted on the groups website. Some faculty members even attended a rally on the campus to show support on Monday.

As of now, there isn’t an end in sight for the sit-in and the administration has yet to give a date for when disciplinary actions will be taken.

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