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Nov 12, 2014 03:48 PM EST

Syracuse Sit-In Goes Into Second Week As Demonstrators Hold Out for Administrative Transparency


Syracuse University's student-led Diversity and Transparency (DAT) Rally is entering its second week, as the demonstrators stand firm to their demand of greater transparency.

According to USA Today, the school's student activism group known as "THE General Body" (TGB) began their demonstration last Monday. After the students handed a staffer from Chancellor Kent Syverud's office a document of more than 40 pages with demands and resolutions, they vowed to stay put until each one was confronted.

The group has now been stationed on the steps of the Hendricks Chapel for eight days going on nine. Among TGB's concerns are the closure of the Advocacy Center, which was a resource for sexual assault victims, and defunding minority scholarships.

But what TGB really wants is to see Syracuse's leaders act with more transparency and to include the student body in the decision making process.

"There's been a lot of decisions made without transparency," Laura Cohen, a Syracuse senior, told USA Today. "Ever since May with the new chancellor, there have been a lot of closed door decisions, so we decided to form a coalition that united all of the different campaigns and groups that have been affected.

"Am I personally affected by disability and accessibility issues on campus? No. But do I care about making it more accessible for disabled people? Of course. I think that's just part of being a nice human being," she said. "We see that these oppressions affect various people, and that's why we need reform."

Syverud appointed Dean Bea Gonzalez to be an intermediary between his office and the students. She wrote in an email to the campus community that she appreciates how TGB is exercising their First Amendment rights.

"I continue to interface with the Chancellor and the students to work through their demands and solutions," she wrote on Nov. 7. "I look forward to moving to a new stage in the process - one that will allow everyone involved to return to our campus routines."

Various Syracuse professors are expressing their support of TGB, including the school's English department, which published a "statement of solidarity" on Tuesday signed by all 14 faculty members.

"We are proud that our students are engaging in direct critical praxis of the type that we analyze and encourage in the critical classroom, and that they are bringing this praxis to bear in university processes and practices where it is so manifestly needed," it read, "a move that we wholeheartedly encourage and affirm.

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