Tag Archives: faculty

Letter of Gratitude from Parents to Syracuse Faculty Supporting THE General Body


Dear Faculty,

As parents of students involved with THE General Body, we would like to extend our gratitude to the Syracuse University faculty who supported our students. You were there for them as advisors and advocates. You made sure our students had food for their bodies as well as their minds and souls. You taught them at Crouse-Hinds and invited them to your classrooms to teach others. You boldly stood up for them in the face of adversity and even protested on their behalf. Not only were you committed to the students during their 18-day sit-in, you have committed to continue standing by them – to work to ensure there is no retaliation and to stand side by side with the students to continue demanding that the university address the rest of the grievances.

Our students gave a wonderful gift to Syracuse University by breaking down the barrier of complacency and ignorance about issues of diversity and transparency, sexual abuse, mental health, and more. You gave the students the gift of strength and support. With both groups as allies, positive change will be made at Syracuse University. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Thank you again for the gifts you bring to Syracuse University.

Parents of THE General Body

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The Movement Continues

A video of Paula Johnson, SU Professor of Law, speaking at today’s press conference before the closing of the sit-in.

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On Tuesday, November 18, more than 25 faculty, staff and students of THE General Body marched from the administration building to Chancellor Kent Syverud’s house to hand-deliver the following invitation:


Dear Chancellor Syverud,

The Students, staff and faculty of THE General Body request your presence on Thursday, November Twentieth, Two Thousand Fourteen, between ten o’clock am and three o’clock pm, at your convenience, in Crouse Hinds Hall.

We wish to meet on critical university needs left inadequately addressed in your final response. These include: maintaining all scholarships and recruitment for students of color, students of lower socioeconomic status, and other diverse student populations; expanding mental health providers, advocacy against sexual assault and rape culture; expanded counseling staff; and financial transparency.

“We are sending the Chancellor our own ‘final’ response,” said General Body member Benjamin Kuebrich. “While this doesn’t represent the end of our work, the list includes student needs that must be acted on immediately.”

Faculty were blocked by DPS officers from walking up to the Chancellor’s house to give him the invitation. Only one faculty member, who had been invited to an event the Chancellor was hosting, was allowed entrance.

“Thank you for the letter,” said Chancellor Syverud. “I will be sure to read it.”

During the first negotiation meeting with THE General Body, Chancellor Syverud remarked: “They’re all important [the demands],” and to choose among them “feels like asking somebody to choose between their children.”

“This is a chance for the Chancellor to prove his commitment to the students and not just the financial pockets of the university,” said General Body member Kim Powell.

This action at Chancellor Syverud’s house follows yesterday’s rally on SU campus, where 150 faculty, students, and community members gathered under the rain to protest the administration’s treatment of THE General Body. Over the weekend, students in Crouse-Hinds Hall were issued individually-addressed envelopes containing the Student Code of Conduct and Disruption policies. The next day their legal counsel Janis McDonald, a tenured professor of law at SU, was turned away when she tried to meet with them.

The administration’s denial of students’ basic right to meet with an attorney galvanized faculty across campus in support of the students. They responded  by writing numerous letters to the Chancellor and standing outside Crouse-Hinds Hall all throughout Sunday holding signs of support.

“We applaud the tenacity and the thoroughness of the student action. They are dedicated, prepared and very organized. They are truly concerned about these issues, this institution and this community,” wrote McDonald in an open letter to the campus community. “Many of us on the faculty support and respect their peaceful efforts to procure a commitment from the administration to move forward in an integral and concrete manner with specific terms and deadlines”

THE General Body has also received a letter of support signed by the 1199SEIU, Adjuncts United, and a broad coalition of local community organizations.

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Statement of Support from Adjuncts United


We respect and share The General Body’s efforts to have their grievances heard by the SU Administration. Shared Governance via greater representation is the right of the entire Syracuse University community.

Legal representation is also the right of each individual member of the SU community and Adjuncts United urges the University to allow student activists access to legal advising in light of the charges and sanctions that are being served on them.

On behalf of the AU Unit Membership of over 500 part time SU faculty,

Laurel Morton
President, Adjuncts United​

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A Faculty Perspective on Allowing Students Consultation with Legal Representatives in Crouse-Hinds This Weekend


Dear Chancellor Syverud,

I wrote to you last week expressing my concern about students being locked-in Crouse-Hinds over the weekend and the rules being reinforced about them coming and going and also being visited by faculty as well as meeting basic medical or self-care needs. I didn’t hear back from you about that letter, although I did hear back from Provost Spina and Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz when I wrote them. Now I’m writing to you again about a related matter.

Many faculty received a letter yesterday from Law Professor Janis McDonald informing us that the General Body students who are sitting-in Crouse Hinds were not allowed to speak with her when she came to consult with them about legal matters. This is an unfortunate situation given the fact that they were hand-delivered letters the night before saying they are in violation of three items pertaining to the SU Student Code of Conduct. Understandably they are going to want to consult legal representatives upon receiving such letters.

As an attorney/Law Professor as well as our Chancellor, you are fully aware of what this situation might mean for these students and how they might be feeling about it. Even as I understand that the university would like the General Body protestors to leave the building and has stated that there will be no more negotiations about the demands document, I urge you to think about the emotional stress the students are under and the signal this sends them to be denied face-to-face consultation with legal representatives this weekend.

I urge you to allow the General Body students in Crouse-Hinds the opportunity to speak to legal representatives this weekend. It seems inhumane not to allow them to do that in a face-to-face setting. Yes, I understand there are rules about the building over the weekend and that no one goes out or comes in, but this seems like a basic human right to consult their lawyers. Even maximum security prisons allow prisoners to speak with their lawyers at pre-designated appointments. Could you allow a window of time for that consultation today?

This situation may eventually drive some students from the building and perform a sort of psychological warfare tactic, but it’s a rather shocking tactic for SU to use, and it’s surprising to see it happening. We look to you, Chancellor Syverud, to be our institutional leader, but also our ethical leader and our leader in matters connected to your field of study and practice. You have a wonderfully long and distinguished track record of accomplishment on a variety of important legal questions and matters. This decision just doesn’t seem like it squares with that long and distinguished track record, and it certainly doesn’t square with the values many of us deeply hold at SU. I am hoping you will let the students talk to their legal representatives face-to-face today. The whole SU community here and across the globe is watching and hoping for the best.

Sincerely yours,

Eileen E. Schell
Associate Professor, Writing
Syracuse University

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Letter of Support from Geography Faculty

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As faculty members in the Syracuse University Department of Geography, we wish to express our support for, and solidarity with, the students sitting in at Crouse Hinds. As the occupation enters its second week, we are impressed with THE General Body’s clear articulation of what Syracuse needs to become a more just, inclusive, better university. We are impressed with THE General Body’s steadfastness. And we are particularly impressed that they have forced into open discussion across campus issues that we have long complained about, sometimes advocated for, but felt relatively powerless to address.

Like THE General Body, we insist that there needs to be much greater transparency as well as real, effective student, staff and faculty involvement in decision making, and especially in the financial operation of the University. There needs to be a greater commitment to, not an erosion of, shared governance. There needs to be a commitment by the Administration and the Board of Trustees to respect the processes and the will of the University Senate.

Like THE General Body, we are concerned about Syracuse University’s fading commitment to community-engaged research and teaching as a core part of the University’s mission. We are concerned about SU’s apparent withdrawal from its commitment to being a progressive force in the city and region (as imperfectly as that role may have been performed in the past) and its apparent recommitment to once again becoming an aloof institution in Syracuse but not of it.

Like THE General Body we agree the University must remain committed to recruiting a student body that is as diverse as it is talented, that it must remain an institution that is open, welcoming, and supportive to students from diverse backgrounds, and that it must recommit resources to assure that it is so.

Like THE General Body, we are concerned that hasty decisions, such as the one to close the Advocacy Center without real provision for continuance of its services, undermine the services and support students need to thrive at Syracuse University and threaten to make the campus both a physically and intellectually less safe space for some.

And like THE General Body, we know that the University is not a corporation and should not be run like one. The contemporary model of highly instrumentalized education is not only flawed but broken and poorly serves the teaching and research mission of the University. The single-minded pursuit of better rankings perverts the educational mission by putting the cart (faux-prestige) ahead of the horse (high quality learning, teaching, research, and creative endeavors).

We admire the students at Crouse Hinds and are impressed with what they are fighting for. We admire and support their taking of their education into their own hands because in doing so they are helping to make Syracuse University a better university than it currently is. We admire THE General Body because it is at the forefront of a new wave of students who will positively change the landscape of higher education. We call on the Syracuse University Administration to recognize THE General Body’s articulation of “needs and solutions” for what they are – symptoms of significant problems at Syracuse University – to address them with all the serious consideration they deserve, and to enunciate clearly and in writing how it will work collaboratively across campus to address them.

Signed (alphabetically),
Matt Huber
Susan Millar
Don Mitchell
Mark Monmonier
Anne Mosher
Tom Perreault
Jane Read
Jonnell Robinson
Tod Rutherford
Robert Wilson
Jamie Winders


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Syracuse Professors and Instructors Support THE General Body

faculty staff support

Syracuse University faculty from across the campus have added their names to a statement supporting THE General Body’s sit-in:

As faculty members and instructors at Syracuse University, we stand in support of THE General Body. We share with these students a grave concern about the “forward” direction the University is heading – a move away from core values of our community, including diversity, transparency, and shared governance. We urge fellow SU community members to support the students wholeheartedly, and we urge the SU administration not just to “listen” to their demands but to genuinely hear them, to engage in constructive dialogue that affirms the deep-seated values of our institution. Indeed, we urge the administration to agree to THE General Body’s core demands. 

If you would like to add your name, e-mail vwlloyd@syr.edu.

Matthew Huber, Assistant Professor, Geography
Vincent Lloyd, Assistant Professor, Religion
John Burdick, Professor, Anthropology
Dana Olwan, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Robin Riley, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Jeffrey Gonda, Assistant Professor, History
Joan Bryant, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Stephen Parks, Associate Professor, Writing Program
Micere Githae Mugo, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, African American Studies
Prema Kurien, Professor, Sociology
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
James Williams, Adjunct Professor, College of Law
Janis Mayes, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Ivy Kleinbart, Instructor, Writing Program
Gretchen Purser, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Donna Marsh, Instructor, Writing Program
Kimberly Johnson, Instructor, Food Studies
Pedro DiPietro, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Afua Boahene, Adjunct Professor, Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Jessica Posner, Instructor, Transmedia
Emily Dressing, Instructor, Writing Program
Minnie Bruce Pratt, Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Tod Rutherford, Professor, Geography
Bonnie Ryan, Associate Librarian, Library
M. Gail Hamner, Professor, Religion
Janis McDonald, Professor, College of Law
Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor, Geography
Margaret Thompson, Associate Professor, History
Cathy Engstrom, Associate Professor, School of Education
Sally Wagner, Adjunct Faculty, Honors Program
Marcelle Haddix, Dean’s Associate Professor, School of Education
Harriet Brown, Associate Professor, Newhouse School of Public Communication
Zachary Braiterman, Professor, Religion
Vivian May, Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Amy Kallander, Associate Professor, History
Beth Ferri, Professor, School of Education
George Theoharis, Associate Professor, School of Education
Jackie Orr, Associate Professor, Socioloogy
Diane Grimes, Associate Professor, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Evan Weissman, Assistant Professor, Food Studies
Paula Johnson, Professor, College of Law
Carol Fadda-Conrey, Associate Professor, English
Diane Swords, Instructor, Intergroup Dialogue
Barbara Applebaum, Professor, School of Education
Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Assistant Professor, Food Studies
Lori Brown, Associate Professor, Architecture
Tula Goenka, Associate Professor, Newhouse School of Public Communication
Mario Rios Perez, Assistant Professor, School of Education
Erin Murphy, Instructor College of Visual and Performing Arts
Eileen Schell, Associate Professor, Writing Program
Cecilia Green, Associate Professor, Sociology
Jesse Nissim, Facutly Fellow, Humanities
Molly Voorheis, Instructor, Writing Program
Rae Ann Meriwether, Instructor, Writing Program
Ryan McClure, Instructor, Writing Program
Devon Moore, Instructor, Writing Program
Kishi Animashaun Ducre, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Erin Mullikin, Instructor, Writing Program
Douglas MacDonald, Adjunct Lecturer, Sociology
Caitlin McLaughlin, Instructor, Writing Program
Himika Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Vanessa Lynn Watts, Instructor, Writing Program
Hille Paakkunainen, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Susan Edmunds, Professor, English
Donald Morton, Professor, English
Tom Perreault, Professor, Geography
Steven Cohan, Professor Emeritus, English
Kwame Dixon, Assistant Professor, African American Studies
Kim Frost, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Roger Hallas, Associate Professor, English
Amy Lutz, Associate Professor, Sociology
Robert Wilson, Associate Professor, Geography
Tyler Dorholt, Instructor, Writing Program
Philip Arnold, Associate Professor, Religion
John Colasacco, Instructor, Writing Program
Jeffrey Simmons, Instructor, Writing Program
Joanne Waghorne, Professor, Religion
Erin Rand, Assistant Professor, Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Robert Bogdan, Emeritus Professor, Sociology and Disability Studies
Kicia Sears, Instructor, Writing Program
Ernest Wallwork, Professor, Religion
Myrna Garcia-Calderon, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Ann Gold, Thomas J. Watson Professor, Religion
Christina Limpert, Instructor, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Harvey Teres, Dean’s Professor, English
Georgepierre Lebron, Instructor, Writing Program
Wendy Harbour, Laurence B. Taishoff Professor, School of Education
Linda Carty, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Alicia Rios, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Herbert Ruffin, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Anne Osborne, Associate Professor, Newhouse School of Public Communications
Dawn Johnson, Associate Professor, School of Education
Jules Gibbs, Instructor, English
Mark Rupert, Professor, Political Science
Alan Foley, Associate Professor, School of Education
Mara Sapon-Shevin, Professor, School of Education
Joanna Spitzner, Associate Professor, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Maureen Fitzsimmons, Instructor, Writing Program
Sarah Pralle, Associate Professor, Political Science


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