Campus forum in works to address racist, homophobic comments in Hanna Strong video

Chancellor Kent Syrverud announced in an email that a community forum will address the offensive Instagram video that has been circulating this weekend.

Syracuse University’s administration is now planning a community forum in response to the Instagram video featuring Syracuse University soccer player Hanna Strong.  

The video, which has been circulating through news outlets and social media this weekend, catalyzed a strong and rapid reaction on campus after it was posted on Saturday. In the video, Strong, who is a senior midfielder on the women’s soccer team, shouts racial and homophobic slurs.

Coach Phil Wheddon indefinitely suspended Strong in response, according to a statement from Daryl Gross, SU’s Director of Athletics. The university’s Department of Public Safety and Title IX Office also opened an investigation.

“Syracuse Athletics, as a strong and diverse part of this University community, has zero tolerance for these actions,” Gross said in the statement.

Chancellor Kent Syverud stated in a general email on Sunday evening that the administration is working with student leaders to arrange a community forum to address the issue. “I believe this, and other less visible incidents, presents us with an opportunity to have an open, civil, and frank discussion. Issues of tolerance and respect are something confronted by many people on campus and off, in ways visible and not,” he said in the email.

A date and time were not set, but more information was promised soon. 

As the video spread through social media Saturday, the campus community took to Twitter to call out Strong for her statements. Those who weighed in include prominent student-athlete alumni such as C.J. Fair, Michael Carter-Williams and Marquis Spruill. The video also catalyzed a same-day, student-organized meeting to address the issue, according to social media.

Wheddon, Strong’s coach, declined to comment on the incident at the team’s game this morning against the University of Vermont, saying, “There will be no further comment from myself or the players at this time. We stand by our university's policy, and we support Dr. Gross and the chancellor."

Strong, who is from Monson, Mass., has played in all four games of the women’s soccer season so far, according to her bio. She also played with the a local soccer team, the Syracuse Lady Knights, this summer, according to their website.

Strong herself has made no public statement regarding the video nor responded to an email requesting an interview.

Tyler Piccotti contributed reporting to this story. 

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