SU official: Students gathering ‘may have done damage enough to shut down campus’

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Students who gathered on the quad on the Syracuse University campus Wednesday night may have done enough damage to shut down the campus, including residence halls and in-person learning, before the academic semester even begins, according to the university.

The video shows a large group of first-year students on the campus quad. The video also shows them running through campus.

(Courtesy of Walter Freeman)

The university says a full investigation of the incident is already underway. They are reviewing security video from the quad, and any student who is identified will be referred to the student conduct process.

Thursday, Syracuse University issued the following statement:

Dear Students:

Last night, a large group of first-year students selfishly jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University—that is, a chance at a residential college experience. I say this because the students who gathered on the Quad last night may have done damage enough to shut down campus, including residence halls and in-person learning, before the academic semester even begins.

Make no mistake, there was not a single student who gathered on the Quad last night who did not know and understand that it was wrong to do so. Instead, those students knowingly ignored New York State public health law and the provisions of the Syracuse University Stay Safe Pledge. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students willfully undercut the efforts of those who have worked tirelessly over the summer to set the conditions for the continuation of residential learning. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students may prevent our seniors from claiming their final year of college on our residential campus. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students could force a situation where some of their classmates may have to vacate the most safe and stable and supportive living situation they have ever known.

A full investigation of last night’s incident is underway. The Department of Public Safety is reviewing security camera video from the Quad, and individuals that can be identified will be immediately referred to the student conduct process.

All this said, I want you to understand right now and very clearly that we have one shot to make this happen. The world is watching, and they expect you to fail. Prove them wrong. Be better. Be adults. Think of someone other than yourself. And also, do not test the resolve of this university to take swift action to prioritize the health and well-being of our campus and Central New York community.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation

In a statement to NewsChannel 9, City of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh also weighed in on the gathering:

The gathering on the quad was totally unacceptable and irresponsible. The City was in contact with SU administration first thing this morning and has been assured the students will be held accountable for their actions. Neither the University nor the City will allow this kind of behavior to roll back the progress we’ve made in dealing with COVID-19.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh

Bobby Maldonado, Chief of the Department of Public Safety, also wrote the following statement:

A full investigation is underway into the gathering that occurred on the quad last night. I am disappointed that a group of this size was able to congregate so quickly. I assure you: We have already taken the appropriate steps to ensure this will not happen again.

After reviewing security camera footage, speaking with students who were in attendance or in the area, and witnesses, I want to clarify the timeline of events. A small group of students arrived on the quad around 9:45 p.m. last night. By 10 p.m., the group had grown considerably. At 10:19 p.m., DPS officers were dispatched to the quad. Moments later, DPS officers arrived on the scene and the quad was cleared just after 10:30 p.m.

Bobby Maldonado — Chief of the Department of Public Safety

Here is the video that was posted on social media:

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