On May 12th, I walked across the stage and graduated! I’m officially on alumni of Syracuse University – what an accomplishment! Unfortunately, I’m going to have to cut the excitement short because the reputation of my school became tarnished last month.
On April 18th, Syracuse University, made the news and it wasn’t for a world changing achievement. It was because of a serious offense that was portrayed in a video. We were featured on CNN, ABC, Syracuse.com, BBC, and many more.
During that week of hurt, confusion, and fear, when you searched “Syracuse University”, the word, “fraternity” immediately popped up. My professors took time out of their busy class schedule to discuss their personal standing and where we should stand as a University as well. In one of my classes, we took the time to discuss what diversity meant. It’s really an easy answer: it simply means variety.
There was a lull in my classes when it was bought up. We didn’t really want to talk about it because we we weren’t even surprised by what had happened because it had happened before especially on smaller scales that didn’t make it to BBC, CNN, and NBC news. Our chancellor offered his condolences and suspended the fraternity, but because this had happened before and because we had to bear witness to these occasions one too many times, we wouldn’t stand for it. We weren’t going to allow this to pass by us too fast and let it happen again.
From that Wednesday onto the next week, protests erupted, flyers were stuck on the student center, and conversations were fiery. To make matters worse, one of the days was admitted students day so students and their parents would be touring our school and seeing the evidence of pain throughout the campus expressed on our faces and the grey skies. If the question, “How is the University dealing with it?”, we were told to respond in extreme formalities, “They have launched a formal investigation to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary actions.” I remembered one of the faculty members saying in a heartbreaking tone, “This is not us! I want the families to know that what that fraternity did isn’t who we are!” Isn’t it heartbreaking when someone breaks your illusion of reality?
One of the most shocking things I saw plastered onto the student center where touring families oftentimes pass through were flyers that read, “Welcome to Syracuse University: Home to Homophobia” It goes on listing several other “-isms”. On the front of the student center, there were several flyers that read, “Do not commit to SU until SU commits to you.” and the quote pulled from the video, “I solemnly swear to always have love
hate in my heart.”
The class of 2018 just graduated and are moving onto the world, a bigger and more real place. We’re going to deal with much more injustices and discrimination, but the difference is whether or not we just sit there and critic the wrongdoings or do we start implementing change. It’s a lot easier to say that you’re going to start making changes, but it will only get harder once you get up onto your feet, open your mouth and speak your mind. That’s where change is born and that’s why I write.