Syracuse University Providing Details of their Response to Recent Events that have Sparked Ongoing Protests

Syracuse University’s facing an unrelenting force of students engaging in direct action. Students from #NotAgainSU have engaged in taking over a university building and staging a street blockage, demanding action on issues regarding racism and the institutions response. At one-point protestors chanted for an appearance by the Chancellor, Kent Syverud.

In a letter to the community, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith A. Alford, provides summaries of work being conducted in a variety of areas across campus.

Work outlined by the university includes; Board Campus Engagement, Independent Advisory Panel, Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Training, Roommate Matching Portal, Multi-Cultural Living Learning Communities, Security Assessment, Anti-Semitism Training. This is just some of the information provided by Syracuse University, details are contained in the following message:

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

Keith Alford

In the midst of challenging times on our campus, students, faculty and staff continue to work thoughtfully, deliberately and with urgency to address the concerns raised last semester. They’re working collaboratively and intentionally to take action that will result in lasting positive change. Consistent with our commitment, we are providing this month’s update via email. It will also be linked from our University social media channels. In addition, you can find updates at

The updates below are summaries of work being conducted by a variety of areas across campus:

  • Board Campus Engagement: The Board of Trustees Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion participated in 20 dialogue sessions with student groups, faculty and staff on Feb. 12 and 13. Members of the committee will return to campus this spring.
  • Independent Advisory Panel: Members of the board-commissioned Independent Advisory Panel were on campus for engagements the weeks of Feb. 17 and Feb. 24 and will return in March.
  • SEM 100: An open forum was held to gather input on the structure and curriculum of a new first-year seminar course. The University Senate ad hoc committee that is working on developing the curriculum met with the University Senate Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and reported to the University Senate on Feb. 19 with a finalized draft syllabus and curriculum. The recruitment strategy for facilitators has been finalized with a two-day training program that is currently under development. Three information sessions for prospective facilitators were held in February, with more than 100 people attending.
  • Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Training: Faculty training sessions have been held on the topics of “Problematizing Identity and Intersectionality on the College Campus” and “Navigating Challenges of Diversity in the Classroom.” Additional training will be held in March.
  • Roommate Matching Portal: Testing for the roommate-matching software, My College Roomie (MCR), will begin March 1. Students will be invited to join MCR beginning March 15.
  • Living Learning Communities: The Office of Learning Communities announced a new Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) for sophomores, juniors and seniors. This expanded living learning community (LLC) in Ernie Davis Hall was informed by feedback received from more than 220 students via survey and in-person conversations. The Office of Learning Communities has also expanded the Indigenous LLC, International LLC and the LGBTQ+ LLC.
  • Security Assessment: The Department of Public Safety met with Jillian Juni, executive director of Hillel, to review a security assessment. A meeting with other departments is being planned to obtain estimates for security improvements.
  • Campus Policies: The Policies Campus Engagement Committee has three working groups focused on reviewing (1) the student conduct code; (2) sanctioning guidelines; and (3) the anti-harassment policy. The groups are creating drafts proposing changes for review by the entire student engagement committee.
  • Anti-Semitism Training: A working group has been assembled to draft and review anti-Semitism training through Everfi.
  • Cultural Competence Training: The Office of Student Living hosted Jon Paul Higgins on Jan. 30 for a day of cultural competence training focused on race and intersectionality for full-time staff.
  • Counselor Development: In January, counseling staff attended the NASPA Strategies conference with sessions on racism and mental health, LGBTQ support, trauma-informed campus communities, and relationship violence in black communities on predominately white campuses.
  • Group Counseling: Spring semester therapy groups in counseling include two therapy groups for students of color, one therapy group for international students and one therapy group for LGBTQ identified students.
  • Multicultural Teletherapy: The Barnes Center at The Arch will provide teletherapy to students on the Aetna insurance plan, which includes therapists who speak multiple languages and represent multiple identities.
  • Office of Diversity and Inclusion: The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is now located on the third floor of Steele Hall. The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program and Student Support Services will also relocate to Steele Hall later this year.
  • Multicultural Greek Life: Members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations and Interfraternity Council held a roundtable to strategize ways to reach across councils and chapters to create bridges and find common ground.
  • Nonprofit Fair: The Office of Community Engagement and the Student Association’s community engagement co-chairs hosted a fair for community-based organizations and government agencies.
  • Food Services: Twenty-four students applied to participate in the Food Services Student Advisory Group, along with 27 faculty and staff members. The group will review menu items and Recipes from Home submissions and plan cultural dinners at dining centers.
  • Camera Installation: New cameras will be installed in Flint Hall in March. Planning is underway for subsequent phases of installations at other residence halls.

I hope you join me in recognizing and appreciating the need for continued action. Let us collectively acknowledge that change requires a long-term commitment—to the work and to each other.


Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Recent Messages to the Community

Feb. 28, 2020

Feb. 24, 2020

Feb. 19, 2020

Feb. 18, 2020

Feb. 17, 2020

Feb. 14, 2020

Feb. 11, 2020

Feb. 3, 2020

Jan. 30, 2020

Jan. 24, 2020

Jan. 23, 2020