Syracuse University and Racism, Ableism, Classism, and Sexual Violence

My letter to Syracuse University Chancellor Syverud in response to this video and this video:

Chancellor Syverud,

My name is Corinne Shutack, and I graduated from the School of
Education in May 2004. My sister graduated from Newhouse in May 2003,
my brother graduated from Newhouse in May 2002, and my brother-in-law
graduated from the School of Management in May 2002. We’re a Syracuse
family.

Those two videos were such a kick in the gut. The best thing I got
from going to SU was stepping out of my mostly white, Catholic, upper
middle class world wherein no one was out.

I have two things to say:
1. These kids need to be expelled.
Reason 1: Send a clear message that behavior this egregious has a
zero tolerance policy at SU.
Reason 2: Send a clear message that SU understands that keeping the
perpetrators on campus means that the campus is not a safe space for
students of color and white anti-racists. Value the victims over the
perpetrators.
2. Chancellor Syverud’s emails talked about “implicit bias” trainings.
Racial slurs are not implicit bias. What all SU undergrads need is a
mandatory course that teaches about racism — and how to be an
anti-racist. And SU’s had that course for years! It’s called CFE 444:
Schooling and Diversity. It’s an education/women and gender studies
course that teaches institutionalized racism, white privilege, the
white savior complex, etc. I took it in the fall of 2003. It changed
my life. A link to the course is here. [A brief write-up about the course is here.]
Reason: Behavior like this won’t change unless students really
understand how white supremacy is virulent, insidious, and harms us
all. If SU is to be an anti-racist institution, it must teach its
white students what racism is and how to be anti-racist.

I love Syracuse, but if Syracuse doesn’t show me I can trust her, the
kick in the gut may result in me losing her. I don’t want to lose
her. I don’t want to be disappointed in who she shows herself to be
in this trying time. But if she doesn’t take more action than
expelling the frat and doing implicit bias trainings, she will force
me to leave her. Please do the right thing. Please take the
opportunity to make SU stronger and more powerful than ever — not
weaker.

Regards,

Corinne Shutack
BS, Inclusive Elementary and Special Education
School of Education, U ‘04

Working towards a world where pain and suffering isn’t caused by a fellow human. Twitter @corinne_shutack

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