Chancellor

Speak For Yourself: A Petition Against THE General Body and the Consequences Their Actions Have on the University

If you do not agree with the actions of THE General Body sign this petition.

Although THE General body calls for increased diversity, they attack their fellow students because they are “privileged” because they’re white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.  All things they did not choose to be.  They purport that they are speaking for those “who can’t” on campus, meanwhile bashing their fellow students for being things they can’t help…

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Syracuse Student Ben Castaneda refutes THE General Body’s idea that only white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled students can disagree with them.

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Student Conner Renaud explains he is at Syracuse because of his hard work, even though THE General Body says it’s because he is privileged.

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Syracuse Student Keelan Erhard informs a THE General Body supporter about diversity.

THE General Body even admits they do not represent the entire population saying “WE DONT SPEAK FOR YOU” referring to those members of the university that are white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.

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Sierra Lee posts admitting THE General Body does not represent ALL the students at Syracuse.

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Student Kevin Spectre notes that THE General Body contradicts itself by demanding diversity, yet condemning the privileged.

THE General Body is making demand as if the university were a democracy, even though it isn’t.  I would like to remind students of THE General Body that they choose to come to school here fully knowing the level of diversity, and accessibility.

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THE General Body supporter Kareese Kirby complains about going to a school she CHOOSE to go to, because it’s “not diverse enough”.

Yet supporters of THE General Body protest as if it is their right to be able to change the school they choose to go for and are paying a service for. Even though it is a private university- AKA a corporation.

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

THE General body is clearly confused about the meaning of “corporation” .
Photo Credit: THE General Body

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Student Sarah Mikal understands the meaning of a private university, and explains to THE General Body coming to Syracuse was a choice.

Next thing you know they’ll be camping out in Macy’s and Target saying there is not enough diversity, and demanding that the store force customers to also buy culturally diverse attire. Then they’ll protest and refuse to leave because the store reduced a sale from 30% off everything to only 20% off everything.

Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

But this is exactly what THE General Body is fighting so hard for.

They want to force other students customers of the university to pay for services they don’t want diversity classes. They’re mad the university the private corporation cut back one of the many scholarships sales they graciously provided.

Theres nothing wrong with wanting change. But lets put an end to this ridiculous protesting and go through appropriate channels. Join the Syracuse Student Association. Their mission is “to represent and be the defender of the students.”

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Hmm now this might just be me… but doesn’t it seem like a better idea to go through the Student Association instead of camping out in the administrative building with an outrageously long list of demands, protesting that immediate change be made (which is unrealistic), even though as students we really have no say because it is a PRIVATE university. In case you’re unsure, the answer to that question is YES,  it is a better idea to go through the Student Association! 

Please stop this protest so that the productive members of this university, including Chancellor Kent and his administration, can get back to work.

By Kyra Azzato

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An Open Letter To Chancellor Kent Syverud

Chancellor,

Enough is enough.

I support you. I’m not writing to complain about transparency, or scholarships, or divestment. I’m not even writing on behalf of my fellow students – I would never purport to speak for the rest of Syracuse University. I’m writing to tell you that I am tired of this protest dragging on, tired of self-righteous social media slack-tivism, tired of protestors hurling accusations of racism.

But most of all, because I’m worried about what this means for the future of this school. Below I’ve outlined my concerns, along with the simple request that you end this before you set a dangerous precedent of immature obstructionism, trespass, and lack of respect – or worse: listless spending at the whim of student complaints, resulting in soaring tuition prices.

YOU ARE IN CHARGE, NOT THE STUDENTS:

Some students have the misconception that Syracuse is a republic or a democracy. Proof is painted on their protest signs that ask “Is this a school, or a corporation?”

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

Students confused about the meaning of “corporation” take a break from patting themselves on the back to protest outside.
Photo Credit: THE General Body

I recommend that you put the topic to bed:

college-sample-bill

Sample bill, by which students (consumers) pay the university (corporation/vendor) for a service

 

Syracuse University is an organization that receives payment in exchange for goods or services. In that right, it is a corporation. The fact that the university extends services such as scholarships, resources and representation, is a nicety; by no means are you obligated to indulge the delusions that this private institution is a democracy, or a charity.

THE UNIVERSITY CANNOT AFFORD THESE DEMANDS WITHOUT RAISING TUITION:

Syracuse University is expensive. Tuition pays for a lot of the services we enjoy on campus,but what happens when a group demands you cut back on university investments because they are indirectly related to fossil fuels (because I’m sure none of the protestors drive cars,) and compel the university to remodel every single building on campus to add more transgender bathrooms? What happens when the group also adds that you cannot make budget cuts to pay for these pricey renovations they demanded?

Issues aside, a sensible person would realize the money isn’t coming from thin air. Changes would a mean tuition increase, far greater than what we’ve already experienced. I cannot, and will not pay higher tuition based on the whim of a few dozen students, nor should my fellow students.

PANDERING TO THE STUDENTS COST YOU AND THE COMMUNITY:

I admire your restraint amid serious allegations from students, parents, and even some faculty that your desire to salvage the university’s reputation are somehow racially motivated attempts to stamp out ethnic diversity at Syracuse.

However, this protest has escalated to where it is now because you have not laid down boundaries. I understand your desire to be seen as friendly and fair by your students, but this has come at the expense of respect.

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University. Photo Credit: ESPN

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University.
Photo Credit: ESPN

You have tried to make the students feel like you are one of them, while simultaneously attempting to wield authorityBy striving to be loved and respected you lost the favor and the cooperation of the student body, and wound up with this:

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building's owners - also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy - and leave smudges on the windows. Photo Credit: The Post Standard

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building’s owners – also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy – and leave smudges on the windows.
Photo Credit: The Post Standard

And, might I add, protestors trying force the administration to see meet with them, sneaking through a back door, overtaking the building against the wishes of the staff and refusing to leave, is criminal trespass.

THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT RATIONAL – THEY AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE UNTIL YOU MOVE THEM:

My point, Chancellor, is that you are dealing with people so self-righteous that they compare themselves to Germans living in occupied East Berlin – people who think that the productive solution to a problem is to sit down and get in the way.

These people are walking all over your administration. By not swiftly handling the issue, you are not only bringing yourself long-lasting terrible press, but you are setting a dangerous precedent that will be in place for the rest of your tenure: every decision you make is negotiable.

If you want to be the respected leader of the university, with the support of your students, then earn it. Stop placating, stop entertaining the fantasy that this private organization is some kind of democracy where college freshmen and twenty-somethings tell adults how to do their jobs, and put your foot down.

Only then can meaningful change occur at Syracuse.

Forgive me if I seem blunt: but my friends cannot do their jobs, prospective students are being put off by the chaos, and I fiscally cannot afford to pay the tuition hikes that THE General Body’s proposal would bring. I doubt I’m the only one.

Thank you for your time, Chancellor. Don’t let the stubbornness of a few damage the rest of your students.

Sincerely,

Cole Ellenbogen

A Trendy Little Thing Called Kent-Bashing

If you live in Syracuse, you’ve probably heard of THE General Body, who are making headlines for sitting on the floor of a building until their list of demands, topping 40 pages, are met.

A skip card, which you can totally use on this next paragraph if you like. I don't mind. See?

A skip card, which you can totally use on this next paragraph if you like. I don’t mind. See?

(Skip this paragraph if you already know why they’re angry, or don’t care why they’re angry and want to jump to the point of the article.) Maybe they’re upset that Chancellor Syverud complimented students on working and holding jobs, because this suggests that work is voluntary and somehow demeans the plight of students who don’t have enough aid money – this complaint appearing in the “transparency” list: article 3.5.4 – or perhaps it’s because professors and students don’t have enough diversity training, and that all students should be required to take 3 credit classes on diversity; this demand, is taken directly from the “diversity” list – article 4.1 and 4.2.. They go on to demand an apology for bringing the university advocacy center to a different building as well.  I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what they want now because since I’ve started writing, they’ve added another two pages of  demands, which are getting increasingly more radical.  If you want to read it, I’m sure you can find it somewhere online. I won’t link it here because I doubt you actually want to read over 40 pages of their manifesto and demands.

(Welcome back!) The sentiment of the group, which completely defies common sense, is that former chancellor Nancy Cantor was a better leader of the university because of her recruitment policies, which favored increasing diversity on campus, and that current chancellor Kent Syverud is somehow a bigot for wanting to improve SU’s academic rating. This ranking lately hovers in the 40’s or 50’s nationwide, depending on whom you ask.

Nancy Cantor, clapping at something. Photocred: The Post Standard

Nancy Cantor, clapping at something.
Photocred: The Post Standard

But I’m not as interested as talking about the demands – other than to point out how ridiculous it is for these students to refuse to leave until their demands are met, considering the fact that some of the demands call for immediate modifications to university buildings – as am in tackling the trendy new culture of Kent-bashing, which will not die.

Fact: college students like to party, or at least enough of them do to rank Syracuse as a top party school. Related fact: college students aren’t widely known for their foresight.

Chancellor Kent Syverud condemned the ranking, likely because he knew it was terrible PR for alumni, and would not help current students find jobs after graduation. But not everyone agrees:

Photocred: The Post Standard

Chancellor Kent Syverud Speaks. Photocred: The Post Standard

Some students have made the assentation that graduating from the number one party school will prove to prospective employers that they have the work-hard-play-hard mentality. Following the logic of these students, and the numbers of the national rankings, you would be showing employers that you party roughly 40 times as much as you work. Personally I wouldn’t be putting that on my resume.

Regardless, it seems like everything Syverud has done has been treated as an attack on the SU way of life, and all problems at the university have somehow become entirely Syverud’s fault. Castle court closes: the ‘Cuse way of life is in danger, save ‘Cuse!” (A waste of a hashtag if ever there was one) A robbery occurs off campus: It’s Kent’s fault, he should bear personal responsibility for what happened because DPS was too busy busting parties – a fairly illogical claim if you ask me.

He is even blamed for the closing of Castle Court, formerly the happening outdoor party spot where students could enjoy both underage drinking and Syracuse’s lovely weather. This was the delayed result of Nancy Cantor’s actions, not Syverud’s.

Photocred: Socraticcomunity.com

Photocred: Socraticcomunity.com

A contributing factor to the problem is the, “too long, didn’t read,” mentality where one student has beef with the Chancellor, posts a whining Facebook status about how ‘Cuse is under attack, and then people start sharing it and reposting it without actually reading what was said. It perpetuates band-wagon Chancellor bashing, and unites students in a seemingly noble crusade against “the man.”

Occupy Protestors block foot traffic, ruin productivity, spoil everyone's nice time

Occupy Protestors block foot traffic, ruin productivity, spoil everyone’s nice time

Aside from the fact that occupy protests are lazy by nature – trespassing, taking up space and getting in the way of productive members of the community until they become so annoying that their opponent has to cave – my issue here is that THE General Body purports to be the voice of SU. The group has well under a thousand followers on social media, 80 members who met with the university staff, only a few dozen participated in their previous march against Syverud, (again, back to the band-wagon Chancellor bashing) and only 30 are taking up space in the Syracuse administrative building. These numbers are pretty insignificant when you take into account the fact that there are over 20 thousand students at SU.

The University is not without issues that merit attention, but the administration has already opened up channels for student negotiation and promised to deal with concerns brought to their attention. This protest drowns out the sensible requests, and poisons the well for constructive negotiations.

THE General Body speaks for themselves, not for the university, and certainly not for me.

In Review:

  • It both defies common sense and demonstrates extreme hypocrisy to for such a small, opaque group to appoint themselves the voice of the students against what they describe as an opaque administration
  • I can’t believe I have to say this, but Kent Syverud is not omnipotent, and thus cannot possibly be personally responsible for everything that goes wrong on and off campus
  • Hating the Chancellor when you don’t understand the issues at hand isn’t cool or trendy, nor is it a sign of a productive educational environment: it’s a sign of attention seekers drowning out the voice of their fellow students

By Cole Ellenbogen

What do you think?