Anti-Semitic threat sent to Syracuse staff, chancellor vows action on ‘hateful incidents’

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Syracuse University administration confirmed a faculty member received a threat with anti-Semitic language as the chancellor sought to reassure students over a series of racist incidents on campus.

Campus public safety is working with the New York State Police and the FBI to investigate an email sent to the faculty member that “contained anti-Semitic language and was threatening in nature,” the school said in an advisory Wednesday.

Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud addressed the campus at a student senate meeting Wednesday, where he said nine officers, consisting of campus safety and Syracuse Police, were dedicated to finding the people responsible for the “hateful incidents.”

Students had submitted a series of demands to administrators, including that any student involved with the recent hate crimes be expelled, the school’s current anti-harassment policy be revised, new staff and faculty undergo mandatory diversity training, more counselors to better represent “all marginalized identities on campus.”

Early Thursday, the chancellor said he signed on to nearly all of 19 recommendations made by students; 16 were approved as written, and Syverud suggested minor revisions for three others that Syverud said were necessary to comply with the law or because they need Board of Trustees approval.

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“Implementing these recommendations is the right thing to do. They will make our community stronger,” Syverud said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday, thechancellor emotionally recalled a time years ago when he worked in the South while raising his mixed-race family. Syverud said the perpetrators who sent his wife and children threats were never found.

“That was then, that was the South. It was hard for my wife and it was hard for my kids,” Syverud said. “But this is Syracuse, this is 2019. I do not accept this hatred here and now.”

He went on to say that no person on campus should be afraid because of who they are and that the school now has a team ready to respond to further incidents.

Syverud also reiterated at the meeting that a $50,000 reward was available for any information that leads to the apprehension of suspects.

Syracuse University students participate in a campus sit-in after the school experienced a series of racist incidents.Jerk Magazine

The email threat is the latest in a string of recent incidents on the campus that have targeted marginalized groups, including Jewish, Asian and black members of Syracuse community. There have been at least 12 episodes since Nov. 6, including anti-Asian and anti-black slurs graffitied in residence halls and a swastika in a snow bank near an apartment complex where students live.

A purported “white supremacist manifesto” was posted online and there was an alleged attempt to share it to student’s cellphones through a file-sharing function on Apple products called AirDrop, the school said Tuesday.

Syverud suspended fraternity social activities Sunday after one chapter’s members and their guests allegedly subjected a black student to a “verbal racial epithet” Saturday night.

Students have held protests that began with a sit-in on Wednesday where they objected to the administration’s handling of the incidents.

Those in attendance at the student senate meeting continued to express a lack of faith in the administration’s ability tackle the problem. One student also criticized the school for using the term racist “incidents,” emphasizing that the episodes were instead “hate crimes.”



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