Dear Chancellor Severed:
Marcus Aurelius famously said: “Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”
I’m mindful of this as we face together a critical moment at Syracuse University. Events are now unfolding in respect to the treatment by the administration of the students who go by the name THE General Body, circumstances that call into mind the quote above.
You hold in your hands the worth of our collective dealings and associations with students and the respect of our university.
By sending the university’s Chief Counsel to disseminate overtly threatening letters to the students occupying Crouse-Hinds Hall you have chosen to take engagement with the students in a direction many faculty find deeply troubling. I am one of these professors.
Just two days ago I wrote on my blog, which has a national audience, that its time for students to take a leap of faith and trust your administration. You and your team have negotiated seemingly with good intentions. Up until now.
Now you are turning a difficult and painful moment into something that sends many on the faculty the feeling our university is about to undermine the truthfulness of its promises and the respect we hold dear in the public square.
I urge you to re-engage with the students and renew your commitment to resolving matters with care and not threats.
Stephen A. Kuusisto
The Renée Crown University Honors Program