As many of you are aware, this has been an emotional and eventful week for our students and the Syracuse University community. Additional racist, biased, and anti-Semitic incidents occurred on Monday and Tuesday, including an anti-Semitic, threatening email sent to a Jewish professor in the Writing Department. More reports surfaced Wednesday of racist graffiti incidents in residence halls.
On Wednesday evening, a forum was held in Hendricks Chapel for students to meet with and hear from Chancellor Syverud. Many students, as well as some faculty and staff members, spoke and the Chancellor convened smaller meetings with the three groups primarily impacted by the recent incidents: Black students, Asian students, and Jewish students.
Following the forum, a group of Jewish students worked together to create a “List of Jewish Student Community Needs,” which called for 1) security upgrades to religious spaces on campus, including the Winnick Hillel Center, 2) improved communication between the Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse University community, 3) updates to the religious observance policy, 4) increased education around anti-Semitism and Judaism as both an identity and religion, 5) the establishment of a marginalized identity student leadership coalition, and 6) improved reporting of bias-related incidents to the campus community.
Hillel staff and Jewish students met Thursday with Chancellor Syverud, Chief Diversity Officer Keith Alford, and Hendricks Chapel Dean Brian Konkol to present and discuss the list of needs for the Jewish student community and steps for moving forward. The Chancellor agreed to and signed the “List of Jewish Student Community Needs” along with the Jewish leaders in attendance. Students appreciated having the time to share their experiences on campus as Jewish students, as well as be able to address their feelings related to these recent anti-Semitic incidents.
We know that the campus community will continue to process and heal from the last two weeks in the days, weeks, and months to come. We truly appreciate all the support we have received as we navigate this tumultuous time.