Fast Forward Syracuse

3 takeaways from Kent Syverud’s address to the community

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Syracuse University community members listen to Chancellor Kent Syverud's address inside Milton Atrium at the Life Sciences Complex.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud on Tuesday gave an address to the campus community inside Milton Atrium at the Life Sciences Complex. In addition to announcements pertaining to the Academic Strategic Plan and comments on undocumented students at SU, here are three things the chancellor said during his speech.

Shared governance
Syverud called for improved shared governance in the university, saying there needs to be collaboration and a strong partnership between faculty, staff, students and university leadership.

Syverud said he and Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly will work closely with the University Senate this semester and build their schedules around Senate meetings.

“We both remain committed to our new tradition of proactively providing the Senate with updates and engaging in conversation about timely issues at the school,” he said, adding that they will also work to improve relationships with the Student Association, the Graduate Student Organization and the Student Bar Association.

The issue of shared governance has at times been a contentious one in recent years. There exists a feeling among some on campus that decisions have been made without considerable consultation of faculty, staff and students.

Title IX
Syverud encouraged members of the campus community to attend the meetings being held next week by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as part of a federal investigation into the university’s handling of a sexual assault case.

“We want to learn from OCR’s visit, including about ways we can maintain and enhance a safer and supportive environment,” he said.

OCR representatives will hold two community meetings open to students, faculty and staff during the visit, on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 at 2:30 p.m. and 9:30 a.m., respectively. The meetings will take place at the Schine Student Center in room 228B.

During the meetings, the OCR representatives will discuss the office’s role in the investigation and will accept questions and information from attendees. Individual appointments are also being made available for the campus community to discuss sexual assault and harassment issues with the OCR staff during its visit.

The investigation into SU was opened on June 22, 2016, in response to a Title IX complaint filed by a former student. The student claims the university failed to “respond promptly or equitably” to a report of sexual assault.

Community engagement
The university is currently assessing its relationships with organizations in the city and region, including local governments, nonprofit organizations and corporations.

Syverud said an effort is underway to catalog all of the direct resources that SU provides to those types of organizations. That effort is still underway, he said, but he estimated that the university’s partnerships provide community organizations “with many millions of dollars annually.”

Syverud also said that a comprehensive economic impact plan will be released in June, and added that SU “must more closely align” its commitments to the community with its strategic plans.

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Mike Haynie and Vice President for Community Engagement Bea Gonzalez have been tasked with building upon the university’s relationships with local organizations, Syverud said.

“A key part of that effort is to build on the longstanding tradition of this university being a leader and offering students, faculty and staff opportunities to connect, evaluate and engage with the community,” Syverud said.

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