Students at Syracuse University have entered their third week of sitting in to demand changes from university administration. On November 3, a coalition of student organizations and activists known as THE General Body held a rally outside Crouse-Hinds Hall, an administrative building before entering and occupying the ground floor. THE General Body demands university administration be more transparent in its operations and make concrete steps to address issues of privilege and discrimination at Syracuse.
THE General Body’s occupation of Crouse-Hinds is in part a response to several disconcerting decisions by university administration in recent years. These include the closure of the Advocacy Center, formerly the Rape Center, a resource for survivors of sexual assault; the defunding of the POSSE program, a scholarship program for inner-city youth leaders; the decision not to divest from fossil fuels despite overwhelming support from student institutions, e.g. the Syracuse Student Government; and the lack accessible services and facilities for students with mental and physical disabilities and illnesses. These are only a few of the many grievances THE General Body is pressuring the administration to address.
We, the Young Democratic Socialists, stand in solidarity with THE General Body. We call on Syracuse University to make a real commitment to address all the listed grievances, and to involve THE Student Body in all future decisions which affect the Syracuse student body. We condemn university administration for apparently threatening the occupiers with legal action, including expulsion from the institution. We offer THE General Body our encouragement and whatever assistance it is within our capacity to give.
DSA members and unaffiliated readers alike, please sign THE General Body’s petition, letting Chancellor Kent Syverud and his administration know that we stand with THE General Body. Also, follow them on social media.
YDS members on college campuses, pay particularly close attention to THE General Body’s struggle with administration. The students at Syracuse provide a living representation of a model of student radicalism which has a proven track record of success. We would do well to emulate them.