Administration offers final written response to demands of THE General Body, apology for Advocacy Center closure

In an email to the SU community, Chancellor Kent Syverud said effective change will require moving forward.

The Syracuse University administration on Wednesday night offered its final written response to the demands of THE General Body, a coalition of student groups that has staged a sit-in in Crouse-Hinds Hall since Monday, Nov. 3.

The administration had provided three previous written responses to THE General Body’s evolving list of demands. In an email to the SU community, Chancellor Kent Syverud said that Wednesday’s response would be the last. To make significant change, he wrote, the community must move forward.

“To do this best, I believe we and THE General Body should work collaboratively with the duly elected representatives and governing bodies that are currently in place, including the Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization, to bring continued action and resolution to these concerns,” Syverud wrote. “I look forward to being an active participant in this process.”

Closing his email, Syverud additionally offered an apology to those negatively affected by his decision to close the Advocacy Center and cut funding of the Posse Program. An apology regarding the Advocacy Center was one of THE General Body’s demands.

Key points from the administration’s final response include the following:

  • Regarding a non-retaliation agreement, the adminsitration wrote that participation in THE General Body activities will not result in disciplinary action for students. Going forward, however, anyone who violates a university policy will be subject to the appropriate sanctions.
  • Regarding the university’s mission and vision statement, a one-month period for additional feedback from the campus community will be opened.
  • Regarding the closure of the Advocacy Center, a sexual violence, prevention, education and advocacy workgroup has been charged with looking for gaps in on-campus services. This group will reveal findings early in the spring 2015 semester.
  • Regarding cuts to the Posse Program, the response document included a letter sent to SU Posse Scholars from the Posse Foundation President and Founder Deborah Bial. Bial praised Scholars for their activism, but advised them to return to class and trust Syverud and herself to find the best balance for Posse and SU.

The full 54-page document is available online

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