open letter

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

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