Tag Archives: community support

THE GENERAL BODY ENDS 18 DAY SIT-IN WITH A GROWING BASE OF FACULTY, ALUMNI, STUDENT, AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT

ending sit in

Today at 1:30 pm in Crouse-Hinds Hall, THE General Body met with Dean Bea Gonzalez to discuss six urgent student needs that Chancellor Syverud had refused to acknowledge in his “final response” last week. Chancellor Syverud had been personally invited to attend by a delegation of faculty supporters, who delivered an invitation to his home two days ago. He appointed Dean Bea Gonzalez–the former “liaison” between the administration and THE General Body–to go in his place.

During the 1:30pm meeting, it quickly became clear that Chancellor Syverud did not enable his representative to make any decisions on his behalf. “I am not here to speak for the Chancellor,” she said in response to THE General Body’s  six needs. Before the meeting, the Chancellor had received the six synthesized university community needs as a Good Faith Commitment Contract. “From day one this sit-in has asked for commitments from Chancellor Syverud on crucial student needs. I find it unreasonable and irresponsible that the Chancellor would send someone without the power to make any commitments on day 18,” said Ben Kuebrich.

Dean Gonzalez expressed a desire to return to negotiations, but when pressed, was unable to clarify what that would entail in light of Chancellor Syverud’s  “final response.”

After the meeting, THE General Body held a press conference, where senior Colton Jones announced that the sit-in would be ending that afternoon. The decision to end the sit-in follows a growth in campus pressure on the Chancellor to commit to addressing urgent student needs. Over the past week, faculty, alumni, staff, community groups, and campus organizations have written letters to the Chancellor urging him to sign a written commitment to address student needs. These letters also urge the Chancellor to sign a non-retaliation agreement, which would protect students, faculty, staff, and others involved in the sit-in from facing punitive action.

THE General Body ended the sit-in on a strong note, with a clear sense of support from the campus.  “We decided to end the sit-in on our own terms,” said undergraduate student Angelina Vargas. In addition to statements of support from alumni, students, and faculty, THE General Body has received solidarity statements from 1199SEIU, a coalition of Syracuse community groups, Adjuncts United, and Cold Case Justice Initiative and Democratizing Knowledge, among others.

At the press conference, available as audio here, PhD student Tessa Brown reviewed the sit-in’s achievements and how far THE General Body has come. Vani Kannan, PhD Student, discussed the future of the movement. Law school professor Paula Johnson also spoke, expressing her respect and admiration for the students of THE General Body, her belief that they have changed campus for the better, and her commitment on behalf of the faculty to stand with them as the movement continues into next semester.

Following the press conference, students clapped, hugged, gathered their belongings, and exited the building. Carrying signs that read ‘Coming Back Stronger,” they marched with a delegation of faculty and staff up to Hendricks Chapel, where DAT Rally was held nearly three weeks ago. After saying final goodbyes, many students returned to Crouse-Hinds to clean the building.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Press Releases, Updates

Statement of Support from Members of the Syracuse Community for The General Body and Student Calls for Diversity and Transparency at Syracuse University

We are inspired by the student groups organizing on the Syracuse University campus for diversity and transparency (a summary of their grievances, taken from their website, is below). Their movement embodies principles of inclusivity, democratic participation in one’s community, care for others and direct action in support of the public good.

At a time when it is common to hear complaints of youth apathy, we commend these students for their dedication and thoughtful action, and we call on the chancellor and the administration to respond to the substance of student demands with meaningful dialogue and action. Having inscribed the words of the first amendment on the walls of Newhouse III, it would be particularly hypocritical for SU’s administration to repress the rights of students to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble.

The Syracuse community has a long history of social movement organizing and civil disobedience to further peace and social justice. As organizations committed to continuing that organizing tradition for a more just and equitable future, we stand in solidarity with the organizing work and demands of The General Body, a united front of student organizations at Syracuse University.

For more background and the 43-page document of grievances and demands see www.thegeneralbody.org.

Signed by Syracuse Peace Council, Syracuse Greens, Syracuse Community Choir, ArtRage Gallery, Peace Action of CNY, Bread and Roses Collective House, Westcott Neighborhood Association, SEIU 1199, Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN), Central New York National Organization of Women (CNY NOW).

(any organizations that wish to sign on to this should contact carol@peacecouncil.net

Available at the Syracuse Peace Council website here.

1 Comment

Filed under In Solidarity