Writing Instructor Discusses Chancellor’s Bullying Tactics

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Dear Chancellor Syverud,

I join my colleagues in expressing my deep disappointment in your denial of legal counsel to the students sitting in at Crouse Hinds. Even more disturbing and surprising is the fact that you suddenly reneged on your Nov. 14th promise to refrain from taking retaliatory action against them in the first place, especially after you publicly lauded them in a recent e-mail as “admirable” and “committed” members of our university community.

Exerting your power as chancellor in order to silence and remove these students from the administration building is the EASY way to proceed. But such a move will only further alienate the faculty, staff, and the rest of the student body. I want to echo my colleagues in reminding you that our students and faculty look to you as not only the “manager-in-chief” of this university, but also as an ethical role model. To be blunt, your recent actions strike me as bullying tactics and are not the sort of behavior I’d expect from my chancellor. I urge you to allow these students legal counsel and to withdraw the disciplinary action you’ve now strategically taken against individual members of THE General Body.

As you, yourself, expressed in your letter to the entire university on Wednesday night, this is a particularly thoughtful and committed group of students. I stand in solidarity with them on many of the issues they’ve raised, including their opposition to funding cuts for diversity initiatives, inadequate mental health services, the closure of the Advocacy Center, lack of respect for university senate decisions on promotion and tenure, and removal of key language around issues of democracy and community engagement from our university’s mission statement. You’ve emphasized your “good-faith” efforts in negotiating with the students on these issues; I implore you to live up to your own words.

As I’m sure you’re keenly aware, the entire community is watching you. These are the moments that define a career and a life. Please choose your words and actions carefully.

Respectfully yours,

Ivy Kleinbart
Writing Instructor / Writing Program
Faculty Liaison / SU Project Advance
Syracuse University
ikleinba@syr.edu

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