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Nov 20, 2014 11:31 AM EST

Syracuse Sit-In Stretches Past 2 Weeks, General Body Accuses Administration of Using Intimidation Tactics


A Syracuse University student activist group's sit-in is now going on more than two weeks and they say the administration is becoming frustrated with them.

According to the Huffington Post, THE General Body (TGB) has been staging its sit-in at the school's Crouse-Hinds Hall since Nov. 3. They have a detailed list of changes they would like to see, but chiefly among them is transparency and student inclusion on major decisions.

The TGB was also not happy about the closure of the school's Advocacy Center, a resource for rape and sexual assault victims.

"I apologize that decisions about the Advocacy Center, as well as the Posse Program, have caused this to occur," Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote in a message to the campus community. "I have sincerely tried to engage and seek opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to provide their thoughts and opinions on these important issues. However, I recognize some in our community have felt left out, and I regret that."

Syracuse's leadership has expressed their willingness to talk to the students while praising them for exercising their First Amendment rights. However, the protestors said they have been on the receiving end of intimidation tactics from the administration.

The TGB demonstrators said they were all given envelopes with the Syracuse student conduct code inside each one. On the outside of these envelopes were the student's name and identification number. This action apparently followed the conclusion of a meeting involving a Syracuse law professor and a rep from the American Civil Liberties Union.

"This was not intimidation," Syracuse spokesman Kevin Quinn told the HP. "Rather, in keeping with our commitment to provide appropriate due process, the University has committed to giving the students advance notice should plans be made to initiate Code of Student Conduct charges. No such plans are currently in place."

A tenured law professor at Syracuse, Janis L. McDonald reportedly wanted to council the TGB demonstrators on possible conduct code violations until the administration blocked her.

"This is outrageous and an abuse of all that should be respected about our students and their rights to the most basic access to lawyers to advise them about their situation," McDonald wrote in a memo to other faculty members.

The TGB has indicated that they will end the demonstration if a few of their most important demands are met, but an end does not appear to be in sight as of yet.

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