Syracuse University police arrested a young woman after anti-racism graffiti markings appeared around campus, following several racist incidents, and amid a student protest.
Kym McGowan, an 18-year-old Syracuse student, was arrested on charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief and marking graffiti, and then released, according to police, MSN.com reports.
“Based on statements made, it appears the graffiti was intended to be in support of the campus protests,” police said in a news release on Thursday (Nov. 21), NBC News reports.
However, four students out of the 14 people involved in allegedly verbally assaulting a Black student on campus late Saturday (Nov. 16), were suspended, the New York Post reports.
Nine of the individuals are enrolled at other universities, where officials have been informed of the allegations, Syverud said, the New York Post reports.
“The student who was reported to be the most aggressive in this incident is affiliated with Rutgers University,” the University Chancellor Kent Syverud told the university senate, according to the Post. “The entire case has also been referred to the Onondaga County District Attorney.”
On Wednesday (Nov. 20), more than 100 students marched to Syverud’s residence, chanting “sign or resign” and other slogans after he hesitated to adhere to their demands, MSN reports.
On Thursday (Nov. 21) morning, he announced that he’d immediately accept 16 of the 19 demands and address the other three demands after minor legal issues were ironed out, MSN reports.
“In response to real concerns raised by members of our community, the leadership team and I have worked in good faith — to support the thoughtful, forward-thinking and constructive solutions offered by many of our students,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Nov. 21), according to MSN.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at the rec center after an alleged white supremacist manifesto was posted in an online forum on Monday (Nov. 18).
The protest, which many are calling a “Black-led student movement,” prompted the hashtag #NotAgainSU.
“I think in order to understand why I’m here, it’s important to understand what has brought us all here,” one student organizer told CNN. “It is the fact that we don’t feel seen and we don’t feel heard.”
The protesters’ list of demands included allocating $1 million to create a new curriculum on diversity issues and gave school officials a deadline of Wednesday (Nov. 20) to respond.
NBC News reports there have been at least 16 racist and bias-related episodes since Nov. 6, including a swastika drawn in a snowbank near an apartment complex where students live and the alleged white supremacist manifesto.
Syverud called the alleged manifesto a “rumor,” the New York Post reports.
“To date, law enforcement has not been able to locate a single individual who directly received an AirDrop,” the chancellor said, according to the New York Post. “Not one. It was apparent that this rumor was probably a hoax, but that reality was not communicated clearly and rapidly enough to get ahead of escalating anxiety.”
Students are not only protesting and demanding change after the series of racist incidents on campus, but they’re also voicing concern over fear of “getting shot” if they continue going to class.
After students became privy to a white supremacist manifesto allegedly circulating on campus Monday (Nov. 18) evening, many became concerned about returning to campus or any of their classes, BuzzFeed News reports.
Aarti Patel, a fourth-year PhD student, received a text message from one of her professors in the Department of Religion at 7:25 a.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 19) morning asking, “Are you sure you wanna go to campus? We need to be safe,” BuzzFeed reports.
Patel had quickly started thinking about escape routes and evacuation plans upon hearing news about the white supremacist manifesto, a 74-page anti-Muslim manifesto, and said multiple people echoed her professor’s concern with messages like, “Do not go to campus today,” BuzzFeed reports.
“It was palpable fear,” the 30-year-old student told BuzzFeed News. “You could feel it in the air.”
Another student, who is Afro-Latina and did not want to be named “for fear that the people committing these crimes could come after me,” said she felt “fear and paranoia” when returning to her dorm on Tuesday (Nov. 19) after participating in a student protest on campus, BuzzFeed reports.
“I didn’t want to leave my room. I did not go to class. I did not go to work,” she said. “Being 3,000 miles away from home to be at my number one dream school to experience this… it’s just very not worth it to me anymore.”
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is an alum of Syracuse University, tweeted how he is “deeply disturbed” by the racist incidents on campus.
“I am deeply distrubed by the news coming out of my law school alma mater, Syracuse University,” he tweeted Wednesday (Nov. 20). “We are truly in a battle for the soul of this nation, and it requires all of us to stand up together as a country against racism and bigotry. We must give hate no safe harbor.”
Fellow Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, also tweeted, writing, “Syracuse’s faculty and staff must listen to students protesting for more counselors and a safe and inclusive learning environment free from hate. When young people stand together, change can happen. #NotAgainSU”