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Syracuse students occupy administrator building to protest racist, biased incidents

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Debra Millet/iStock(SYRACUSE, New York) — Graduate students at Syracuse University have been occupying an administrator building in protest of racist and biased incidents that have occurred on campus.

The protests, which are being led by a black student-led organization called #NotAgainSU, began Monday at the Crouse-Hinds Hall in response “to the administration’s failure to address and denounce racism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, white supremacy and other oppressive systems” present on campus, according to a statement from the group.

The occupation is not in response to a specific incident, said the group, which instead is accusing the administration of not addressing more than 25 on-campus hate crimes since November.

More than 30 student organizers have been placed under interim suspension for remaining in the building past closing, reported The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student-run newspaper.

“While students continue to bravely express how damaging and taxing this campus environment is and has been for underepresented identities, the administration continues to utilize strategies that force us to comply with and conform to the inequality and violence that directly affects our communities,” a statement from #NotAgainSU read. “With this, Syracuse University continues to disregard its commitment to the safety and support of minority students, therefore maintaining an environment where oppression and racial violence is constantly enabled and enacted.”

Tensions between the protesters and administrators have become “increasingly violent,” the group wrote on Twitter Wednesday. Law enforcement has sealed the building off, blocking outside food and supplies, The Daily Orange reported.

University officials have said that protesters inside are free to leave at any time.

The university sent a memo to students, faculty and staff Wednesday stating that after a continued dialogue with the protesters, they decided to revoke interim suspensions for students who left the building by 10 p.m. Tuesday and allow the organizers to continue their protests at the Bird Library, “a 24-hour building that is equipped and staffed to safely handle the influx of students.”

Administrators also agreed to schedule a meeting with students for Thursday to discuss their concerns and committed to weekly meetings throughout the spring semester.

The organizers rejected the offers, according to the university.

The students said they’ll continue to protest until all interim suspensions are lifted and they’re given unrestricted access to food and supplies.

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