(EDITOR’S NOTE: Brandon Ross is a current junior at Syracuse University)
Just before 2:30 a.m. this morning, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced via email that he would sign 16 of the 19 demands issued by the #NotAgainSU protestors sitting in at the Barnes Center at the Arch. This has not yet brought an end to the demonstration that has lasted more than a week, as those students are still sitting in.
But long before then, student-athletes began making their voices heard, including members of the football team letting their frustration be known about the racist incidents happening on the Syracuse campus.
“It’s very frustrating,” said senior running back Moe Neal. “It’s unacceptable what’s going on.“
“Obviously, it’s devastating to see,” echoed sophomore safety Andre Cisco, who wore #NotAgainSU on his cleats during the Duke game and briefy visited the Chancellor’s forum at Hendricks Chapel Wednesday night. “It hurts personally to see it just keep going on. I know a lot of people that are involved in the movement that’s going on on campus, so I hope people just start taking it serious.”
So far, there are 16 confirmed incidents in the last two weeks, ranging from racist graffiti in freshman dorms to someone posting the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto on Syracuse University’s GreekRank.com page, while also allegedly airdropping the document to phones at Bird Library.
It has been a trying time for all SU students, but particularly for Asian, black and Jewish students who have been targeted directly by these incidents, along with other students of color. It got to the point where, Wednesday night, the University Senate voted in favor of cancelling classes for the remainder of the week (a recommendation the administration rejected).
For the football players who also have a game not too far away in Louisville, staying locked in has been the biggest challenge, but also the biggest key.
“Like I said after the (Duke) game, as student athletes we try to stay focused, especially with how the season’s been going for us,” said Neal. “But obviously, with things going on like that, it gets tough. I feel like we’re handling the situation the right way. At the end of the day, we’re all a family and we just gotta remain that way.”
Cisco mentioned that SU football’s family mentality has made it easy for everyone to keep their eyes on the task at hand this weekend.
“It’s not hard to stay focused when we have our own facility and our own space,” added Cisco. “And the family, we’re tight. Focus on who’s around you. Focus on who you have to lean on when things get tough. When these things really start to maybe get under your skin, just to understand that we all have each other.