While we recently marked the one-year anniversary of The Diversity and Transparency Rally and the first day of the 18-day sit-in, THE General Body began from a coalition of student groups that were already protesting multiple crucial concerns on campus. DAT Rally was the fifth rally in the fall 2014 semester, and others followed. Activism is often memorialized and deemed a part of “history” as opposed to the continuous struggle that it is. Therefore, we do not aspire to be memorialized.
TGB is not an institution. The group arose organically among hundreds of students when it became clear that the new administration and Fast Forward Initiative was making drastic changes affecting diversity, resources, and transparency between administration and SU students, faculty, alumni, staff, and the broader Syracuse community. We believe that a similar coalition could just as easily arise again, either using TGB-type model or an entirely different one. When faced with injustice, we encourage everyone to find others and rise in solidarity with them.
What’s the situation at SU now? The Syverud administration has a directive from the Board of Trustees to enact policies of austerity, all along with skyrocketing tuition costs, so they continue to proceed accordingly. Since TGB began pointing to the issues, we have seen the administration continue in the same manner as regards numerous concerns on campus. We are working on compiling data and information to the best of our abilities. But as a sampling: we know that SU is back to having only one psychiatric provider (as yet another provider left Health Services months ago and has not been replaced); the SU administration announced a change to the faculty travel policy purportedly without faculty input, over the summer; administration has been coercively pushing staff and faculty to leave, as well as firing faculty mid-contract, and then refusing to discuss it. In some ways the SU administration may have become even more secretive than when we first brought the issues of non-transparency to the forefront.
TGB wasn’t perfect. Working via consensus and collaboration, intending to do away with hierarchy, and in high-stress situations, is wonderful yet challenging, and we made mistakes — people were unintentionally pushed out, less visible and/or less represented, or could not find their home in the midst of coalition work. The university administration also worked to undermine solidarity, attempting to ‘befriend’ or isolate certain members, and by addressing certain issues, while ignoring others just as crucial.
While TGB has been less publicized, we continue to work from within our own circles and connections. The work hasn’t simply ended because we are no longer in direct communication with the campus at-large.
Please help us compile an in-depth update. We invite you to look into each of the original Grievances and Needs and analyze the current status of them. And please keep sending your grievances related to SU to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re keeping track!
Keep fighting, keep healing!