Syracuse University (SU) said on Monday it has hired former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to lead an independent review of the institution’s Department of Public Safety after criticism over last week’s suspension — revoked a day later — of 30 students protesting racial incidents on campus and their alleged mistreatment by DPS police officers.
In a statement Monday posted on SU’s website, Chancellor Kent Syverud apologized for how the situation was handled.
“I am not proud of how last week’s events involving student protesters in Crouse-Hinds Hall were handled. I take responsibility and apologize to the students — especially those misidentified in suspension letters sent out,” Syverud wrote.
Campus publication The Daily Orange said that #NotAgainSU, a movement led by mostly Black students, has organized a sit-in at SU’s Crouse-Hinds Hall since Feb. 17 to protest more than two dozen hate crimes at the university since November. Student protestors say no concrete action has been taken to address the racial incidents. The 30 students were suspended for not vacating the hall past closing time. They said the campus police make them feel “unsafe.”
The public security department “sealed Crouse-Hinds off Tuesday and Wednesday, preventing outside food and medicine from entering until Wednesday afternoon,” said both the campus paper and the protestors.
“SU provided lunch and dinner to organizers Tuesday and breakfast Wednesday. DPS (Department of Public Security) Associate Chief John Sardino physically struggled with a student last week to prevent them from entering Crouse-Hinds, a video posted on social media shows,” the publication added.
On Tuesday, February 18, campus police tweeted saying, “students claiming we’re restricting their access to food are free to leave the building any time.” #NotAgainSU said it wants Sardino to resign.
In the face of this backlash, Syverud talked about why the university decided to appoint Lynch to review the institution’s public safety department.
“I believe this review is necessary given that concerns have been raised through several channels about how DPS engages with our community
Read more: https://diverseeducation.com/article/168134/