Professors allegedly canceling classes and reported hate crimes came in the aftermath of the recent presidential election on SUNY campuses.
At SUNY Geneseo on the Western Tier, a swastika and the word “Trump” were graffitied in a dorm common area, according to reports.
SUNY Student Assembly President Marc J. Cohen and SUNY Geneseo Student Government President Michael Baranowski issued a joint statement this morning:
“This past weekend, more than 350 student leaders from across the State University of New York came together for our annual fall conference. We unanimously and vigorously support SUNY’s unwavering dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We condemn the recent abhorrent display of hate, racial bigotry and anti-Semitism at SUNY Geneseo in the strongest terms, and will continue our efforts to make all campuses welcoming and inclusive places to live and learn. This glaring reminder that hatred and evil exists among us can be very frightening. We encourage anyone who needs it to avail themselves of counseling services provided on campus, and we ask each and every student to move forward united and resolved to fight against prejudice and bigotry of any kind.”
Similar graffiti was found in a SUNY New Paltz women’s room. Students also stormed out of classes there, according to Mid-Hudson Valley Patch, chanting, “We reject the president-elect.”
As for instructors allegedly canceling classes, Long Island Republican Assemblyman Al Graf sent the following letter to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. It is circulating on Facebook:
The letter reads, in part: “We are in charge of educating doctors, nurses, health care professionals, lawyers … and many other occupations that help to keep this country running … How are we preparing our students for real life when we foster in them that it is acceptable to not perform their chosen occupation because they feel badly about some unrelated event? …”
It continues: “Under what authority did these professors or colleges make the decision to cancel classes or scheduled tests? Were these actions sanctioned by SUNY administration?”
For her part, the Chancellor did issue a statement the day after Trump’s win:
“Education – what our students, teachers, schools, and colleges need to be successful – is the same today as it was yesterday. We need a champion at the top who will make innovative policy decisions and implement evidence-based programs for teaching and learning that position every student in America for success.
“That means embracing the collective impact approach to education, where everyone with a stake in student success is working toward a shared vision. It means a commitment to transforming teacher training, so that our students not only learn from, but are inspired to become, excellent teachers. It means incentivizing college completion, which is the most effective way to minimize student loan debt. And it means delivering quality higher education that prepares every graduate for a rewarding career.
“The State University of New York stands ready to work with the next president to share what we have learned about identifying what works and bringing it to scale.”
Cohen added this statement on November 15, on behalf of SUNY students: “The collective students of the State University of New York will not stand for acts of hatred and discrimination on our campuses or in our communities. We will not cower in the face of bigotry, discrimination, or prejudice. We will move forward united in the spirit of equality and meet such adversity head-on. Those committing these heinous crimes should know that you will be found, prosecuted, and brought to justice. We call on law enforcement to continue their investigations into these acts, and we call on students to be active bystanders. To everyone feeling discouraged by the recent messages of intolerance, know this: you are not alone. We as the elected leaders of the State University of New York’s 600,000 students across our 64 campuses will not be silenced, we will not be intimidated, and we will not back down. We will keep fighting for diversity, we will keep fighting for equality, and we will keep moving forward. We’ve got your back.”
We’ll add more to this story in the days ahead, and it should appear in full in our December 1 print edition. To contribute your say, hit REPLY below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.