Dear Chancellor Syverud,
We write to add our voices to the majority of the Syracuse University Senate voting in favor of THE General Body’s efforts. The students’ engagement in trying to shape their university environment evinces the sort of civil engagement we, as faculty of Syracuse University’s Florence campus, teach. From the Gracchi through Dante, Machiavelli, and Gramsci, Italy provides countless examples of politically engaged thinkers who have risked their comfort, even their lives, to speak out. Two such Italians even made it to Syracuse, visualized in Ben Shawn’s mosaic on the east wall of Syracuse’s Huntington Beard Cruise Hall, “The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti.” The rich history of linking culture to politics made Florence the natural choice when professors from Syracuse’s Maxwell School established our center at the dawn of the cold war, with a vision of creating global citizens.
Citizenship anywhere calls for us to speak out, as students of THE General Body have been doing courageously. Their concerns parallel those our own Florence students have voiced in a recent round table regarding the Ferguson shooting. Our shared students, on either side of the Atlantic, perceive perhaps correctly that there is a “system” that could be more responsive to rights and concerns. Students’ insistence to discuss this constitutes a breaking of silence, a defiance of apathy, that constitutes the first step for their generation to initiate change—change that our generation has been unable, or perhaps too busy or afraid, fully to realize.
We feel it is important to remove, rather than build, barriers to students’ free movement and expression, to encourage rather than to threaten, so we may follow their lead in changing what they perceive as the “system,” rather than becoming that system ourselves. In doing so we will be supporting students who restore Syracuse’s academic reputation from the number one party school, to the number one school of engaged—and compassionate—leadership.
Alessandra Adriani, Simone Anselmi, Francesca Bea, Molly Bourne, Jennifer Cook, Luisa Demuru, Matteo Duni, Charles Ewell, Carlotta Fonzi Kliemann, Antonella Francini, Francesco Guazzelli, Amy Kleine, Nick Kraczyna, Richard Ingersoll, Elena Lucchetti, Sara Matthews-Grieco, Alick McLean, Eric Nicholson, Natalia Piombino, Isabella Pistolozzi, Ken Resnick, Todd Rutherford, Debora Spini, Kirsten Stromberg, Stefania Talini, Loredana Tarini, Jane Zaloga
Syracuse University in Florence
Piazza Savonarola 15
50132 Florence ITALY
Published on the D.O. [http://dailyorange.com/2014/12/su-in-florence-faculty-supports-student-engagement/]