2020-21 Action Plan (First Edition)

2020-21 Action Plan (First Edition)

Prepared by Student Association President Justine Hastings & Vice President Ryan J Golden

Purpose: We created action plans for each issue we discussed during our campaign. This action plan is in its “first edition” because it will be expanded on once SA is officially in session, when we have a confirmed cabinet and full assembly, and as student issues and concerns naturally arise. 

For now, the action plan covers the following areas:

  • Supporting the Demands of #NotAgainSU, International Students, Jewish Students, and Indigenous Students (under discussion)
  • Student Vote on the Board of Trustees
  • Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault by Implementing Callisto Technology
  • Allow for Students to Declare Preferred Names on their SUIDs  (now possible as of June 22, 2020 all due to Eileen H. Simmons)
  • Physical Campus Accessibility
  • Standardized Absence Policy That Supports Mental Health
  • Housing Reform for Students With Disabilities
  • Center for Disability Resources (CDR) Portal for Reporting Accommodation Violations
  • Making American Sign Language (ASL) a Recognized Language
  • Freeze Tuition (#NotAgainSU demand)
  • Financial Aid Reform
  • Bring Back Posse LA and Atlanta
  • Student Employment Reform
  • Textbook Affordability
  • End Three Year Housing Requirement
  • Expand the Free GRE Program
  • Dining Contracts
  • Code of Student Conduct Section 17/ The Student Leadership Clause

The page will be continuously updated with progress notes. Again, this is an evolving plan and we are always open to hearing your thoughts, comments, questions, and/or concerns. Please reach out to StudentAssociation@syr.edu .

Supporting the Demands of #NotAgainSU, International Students, Jewish Students, and Indigenous Students (under discussion)

The demands raised by the #NotAgainSU movement, international students, Jewish students, and indigenous students (under discussion) deserves the full support of the Student Association (SA). These demands deserve to be met, kept, and fulfilled. Multiple peaceful protests and sessions of negotiations should not go to waste, which is why we will do the following:

  • Hold regular meetings with administrators who were involved in the negotiations with #NotAgainSU protestors, specifically Robert Hradsky, Vice President for the Student Experience, and Amanda Nicholson, Interim Deputy Senior Vice President of the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience to track the progress of demands that were agreed to
  • Work with Rob Hradsky to publicly release the CART #NotAgainSU negotiation transcripts that were originally promised to student organizers 
  • Insist on an apology for restricting #NotAgainSU student protestors’ access to their own food and other necessities at Crouse Hinds
  • Work with administrators to have Chancellor Kent Syverud publicly sign the agreed upon demands
  • Work with administrators to address #NotAgainSU as #NotAgainSU, rather than general student protestors and to urge administrators to change the language on the Campus Commitments website from “Concerns of Student Protesters” to “Concerns of #NotAgainSU Protestors” 
  • Keep #NotAgainSU organizers and protesters updated on all progress

Progress as of September 2020:

Recap on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 meeting with Rob Hradsky, Amanda Nicholson, Meredith Davis, and Keith Alford: 

  • All participants have received the Syracuse University Must FULLY Acknowledge its Complicity in Anti-Black Racism petition
  • Nicholson adamantly stated that the University will never go on record saying that they starved students
  • In future communications, the administrators agreed to refer to #NotAgainSU as #NotAgainSU, not as general student protestors. In descriptions, #NotAgainSU will be described as a Black student-led movement (as requested by #NotAgainSU core organizers)
  • Hradsky and Nicholson said they will try and get Chancellor Syverud to sign the agreement documents

Recap on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 meeting with Rob Hradsky:

  • Hradsky confirmed that the General Counsel’s office has CART transcriptions of the #NotAgainSU negotiations. We are working with SU professor Jackie Orr and two core organizers to urge him to publicly release the transcripts (as originally promised)
  • Hradsky said that he is working behind the scenes to get Chancellor Syverud to publicly sign the demands and to change the Campus Commitments website to say “Concerns of #NotAgainSU Protestors” instead of “Concerns of Student Protesters” but this takes time due to multiple approvals. We will follow up on this. 

 

Student Vote on the Board of Trustees

Currently undergraduate and graduate students do not have a vote on the Board of Trustees. Three student representatives serve on the Board each year: the SA president, another undergraduate representative SA elects, and the Graduation Student Organization (GSO) president. However, the three students are not given the right to vote and thus, student voices, arguably the most important voices on campus, have been shut out.

The Board of Trustees are the most powerful governing body on campus. Students have little to no access to the Board of Trustees, who often stay nameless and faceless during times of campus crisis. We are asking the Board of Trustees to amend the university bylaws to amend Article II Section 1 to state: “Two undergraduate students, elected annually by the Student Association, and one graduate student, elected annually by the Graduate Student Organization, shall serve as Student Representatives to the Board with one half of a vote given to each undergraduate student representative and one whole vote allotted to the graduate student representative.”

To achieve this we know that we have to gain the support of the Board of Trustees. To do so we are:

  • Researching the role of student representatives to the Board of Trustees at peer institutions
  • Setting up meetings with the Chancellor and other Board of Trustees members over the course of the summer to discuss our proposal
  • Including this issue in a written report due to the Full Board of Trustees in mid- October and will be discussed early November

Progress as of September 2020:

This issue was brought up to Chancellor Syverud over a conference call on July 8, 2020. He told us that we, along with other Board representatives, can discuss this further in a later meeting set for mid-July/early August. 

SA representatives Justine Hastings, Ryan Golden, and Patrick Penfield are working on an official proposal to send to the Board. They are also working on a joint SA and GSO resolution in regards to this issue.

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault by Implementing Callisto Technology

According to a Syracuse University spring 2018 survey, 95% of the students who said they were sexually assaulted did not file a report. Almost all respondents who said they experienced dating violence, sexual harassment or stalking also said they did not file a report. This needs to change and Syracuse University needs to properly address sexual assault on campus. 

We need to be able to offer justice to survivors and ensure that they have as many resources as possible at their disposal. While Secretary Devos’ Education Department has enforced guidelines that make it all but impossible to ensure anonymity through any campus conduct process, we still have a plethora of options to better support survivors at Syracuse. One of these options include the implementation of Callisto, a technology that helps survivors detect repeat offenders, navigate their options, and find resources.

We are:

  • Researching Title IX processes at peer institutions 
  • Reaching out to Callisto and setting up meetings with senior leadership to explore options
  • Meet with Title IX leadership and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, & Resolution Services (EOIRS) to discuss the possibility of a partnership
  • Meet with the General Counsel’s office to go over legal ramifications of becoming a Callisto Campus
  • Meet with the Dean of Students office to discuss creating an anonymous sexual assault reporting portal, like the Bias Reporting Portal that we currently have

Progress as of September 2020:

  • We met with Kristin Hatcher, Callisto’s Head of Strategy and Business Development, in order to discuss a potential partnership. We learned that Callisto has changed in a few ways: it is now a nonprofit, it is now free, and it is now a support system for survivors rather than a reporting system
  • We met with Sheila Johnson-Willis, SU’s Associate Vice-President Chief, Equal Opportunity & Title IX Officer, to discuss Callisto and we put her and the rest of the EOIRS team in contact with Callisto representatives for further followup
  • Callisto is undergoing the Accessibility Assessment Committee review process but this is taking some time because we are waiting on the required documentation from Callisto

Allow for Students to Declare Preferred Names on their SUIDs  (now possible as of June 22, 2020 all due to Eileen H. Simmons)

At Syracuse University students have the opportunity to change their name for their syr.edu email as well as other university services, but do not have the ability to change their names on their SUID. With the value of inclusivity in mind, we are determined to make this option available to students at Syracuse University. To accomplish this we will:

  • Propose the initial idea to the housing office through a meeting with the Director of Housing and other senior staff in the housing office
  • Meet with the University’s Counsel to see what legal barriers there currently are to accomplishing this goal
  • Work with the housing office to draft a form that will be distributed to all students so they can change the name that shows up on their student ID

Progress as of September 2020:

Eileen H. Simmons, Director of Housing, Meal Plan & ID Card Services, has informed us that this is now possible as of June 22, 2020. 

“We are pleased to announce that campus community members are now able to print preferred name on the SUID card! If a current cardholder wants to update their card, they must first update their preferred name in the MySlice portal, then send an email to idcard@syr.edu for a replacement card to be produced.  This service is free of charge, as name change is an exception to the replacement policy.

Currently the office is closed, and they are sending cards to the Department of Public Safety for pick up. Once the office “opens,” they will follow the same process, but in an effort to limit traffic in the office, they will be relocating to the merchandise trailer on the quad for card distribution at opening.” – Housing, Meal Plan & ID Card Services

Physical Campus Accessibility

We are calling on the University to make sure that all buildings and classrooms on this campus are physically accessible for all. We are asking the University to either put more accessibility measures in the current Campus Framework plan or to create a separate 10 year plan that makes all of the buildings on this campus physically accessible. To accomplish this goal we plan to:

  • Meet with the Campus Facilities Advisory Board to see what the current state of accessibility planning looks like
  • Advocate to the Board that we include more than just the SA President in the Campus Facilities Advisory Board, hopefully gaining a seat for the Residence Hall Association President and the President of the Disability Student Union (if they are willing)
  • Work with the Office of Student Living to conduct a review of all residence halls on campus (starting with Flint and Day Hall)
  • Publicize any review or audit of campus accessibility
  • Work with the Campus Facilities Advisor Board to take whatever audit or review has been conducted and use that to inform a more broad and inclusive accessibility portion of the Campus Framework Plan

Progress as of September 2020:

We learned from Rob Hradsky that in terms of a disability review, an outside firm was previously hired to look at campus accessibility and they provided a list of things that needed to be done. He told us that the CPDC, the Construction, Planning, Design team, reviewed the list in order to create greater accessibility in our campus buildings. He advised us to reach out to Pete Sala, Vice President & Chief Facilities Officer, to find out more information.

“Two significant efforts remain a priority of my team; the development of a plan to remove existing barriers to access on campus (Physical Access Plan), and guidance to designers on how the University wants Beyond Code Compliance accessibility standards designed into future new construction and renovations. 

Physical Access Plan – This fall the Disability External Review Sub-Committee for Facilities will be utilizing a data analysis process to work towards the completion of a campus plan to remove physical barriers to access.  The sub-committee includes staff from the Office of Disability Services, and student representatives. As this develops the campus community will be informed in more detail.  The cost of the physical work is not estimated at this time. 

Guidance to Designers – The development of the Guidance to Designers on Accessibility at Syracuse University is well underway.  This will be a concise document that will describe to architects designing or renovating University facilities how the University wants accessibility addressed, beyond code requirement in every area from parking, building entries, classrooms, auditoria, labs, dining and residence, etc.” – Pete Sala

We met with Pete Sala to discuss the distribution of the preexisting disability review, the Physical Access Plan, and the Guidance to Designers on Accessibility at Syracuse University document. This is all information/documents he will send to us when he is ready so we can make available to all interested students, faculty, staff, etc.

We discussed the need for more relevant representation on the Campus Facilities Advisory Board (led by Pete Sala and John Liu) and the Disability External Review Sub-Committee for Facilities (led by Steve Bennett).

 

We explained to him that we would like the Residence Hall Association (RHA) president, the Disability Student Union (DSU) president, and Disability Community Group (DCG) representation in both groups. He was extremely open to this idea. We have already contacted RHA, DSU, and DCG leadership about potential interest. Please note that the current co chair of the Disability Community Group and Interim Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, William Myhill, is already on the Campus Facilities Advisory Board but the request is still valid for even more interested DCG representation on this board as well as representation on the Disability External Review Sub-Committee for Facilities.
– There is now Disability Student Union (DSU) and Disability Community Group (DCG) representation on the Campus Facilities Advisory Board and the Disability External Review Sub-Committee for Facilities

Standardized Absence Policy That Supports Mental Health

At Syracuse University there is no standardized absence policy that faculty and staff have to abide by. Students deserve to have a standardized policy regarding absences that support student mental health and support a healthy academic and study schedule. To successfully advocate for a standardized 3 unexcused absences per semester per class we will:

  • Meet with leaders in the University Senate
  • Meet with individual school leadership, including Deans of each School and College
  • Meet with the USenate Academic Affairs and Curricula Committee Chairs
  • Author, with appropriate co sponsorships, USenate Resolutions calling for a standardized 3 unexcused absences policy

Progress as of September 2020:

We met with Kira Kristal Reed about this as she is the Committee on Curricula Chair. 

She explained why the initiative in its original form is not objectively possible. The New York State Education Department has contact minutes that grants the satisfactory completion of a course and the call for 3 standardized unexcused absences per semester per class is not objectively possible for accreditation purposes. She also informed us that, because of this, there is a maximum on unexcused absences but no maximum on excused absences.

What Kira and I did agree with is that we definitely want more students to know about and utilize the Center for Disability Resources and attendance accommodations, especially for what will be a difficult academic year. We know that on all syllabi there is a Disability-Related Accommodations section detailing your office, what it does, etc. but we agree that the boilerplate syllabi in its current form is extremely long (about 7 pages) and many students might glean this information over.
Given this information, what we agreed would be the best route of action is to:
  • prepare a boilerplate standardized Powerpoint slide that all faculty members could utilize highlighting the Center for Disability Resources and how the office is responsible for coordinating disability-related academic adjustments (language similar to what’s already in the Disability-Related Accommodations section). Kira also mentioned that in her teaching experience, not many students know they can and should take a leave of absence if they feel that is the best route for them so incorporating that sentiment in the slide would be ideal. Faculty would be encouraged to utilize and present this slide on the first day of classes and an SA representative can introduce and explain this slide to the University Senate in the fall.
  • Customize the Orange Center flags that students receive to be more understanding and to include language on where they can get assistance and information on how can take a leave of absence if necessary, etc.
  • Recommend to the Provost’s office to communicate that faculty should use language that is understanding and encourages self preservation and mental health, especially for this upcoming academic year
  • We can use the access we have to the campus-wide listserv to disseminate information on how students can get assistance and how they can take a leave of absence to make students broadly aware of these resources and their options

We found out Christine Ashby and Natasha Cooper were the co-chairs of the Academic Affairs Senate Committee this past academic year so we will be utilizing them as a resource on this issue. 

Housing Reform for Students With Disabilities

It has been reported to us that the process for housing selection was not accessible for students with disabilities, and oftentimes placed these students at a disadvantage. We want to assess the extent to which the process is different for students who are registered with the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) and how we can reform that system. To do this we will:

  • Meet with Office of Student Living to assess how they work with CDR to serve students with disabilities
  • Meet with the Housing Office as well as CDR to discuss the Disability Community Group and student representation on said work group
  • Write and distribute a survey to students registered with CDR to assess their experience with housing selection
  • Meet with the Housing Office and the Office of Student Living to go over the results of the survey and to find ways to better serve students registered with CDR

Progress as of September 2020:

We learned more about the Disability Community Group, a campus-wide group that “seeks to address and make recommendations to mitigate disability-related issues that impact students, faculty, and staff adversely” Paula Possenti-Perez, the Director of CDR (ppossent@syr.edu), and William Myhill, SU’s ADA Coordinator co-chair this group.

We are working closely with CDR to better communicate their role in supporting students and their disability-related housing needs.

Below is the process of when a student is in need of requesting ADA accommodations:

“Generally speaking: Once a student is approved for a specific disability-related housing accommodation, the associate director of Housing (Gillian Kanter, gbkanter@syr.edu) emails the student and advises on the next steps. This outreach happens in all cases, and typically, the communications are on-going until the student receives their room placement that meets their disability-related needs. 

 Student’s choice of a residence hall: When a student requires (for disability-related reasons) a particular resident hall/room location, that level of specificity is included in the approval. The access counselor, along with the student, determines the best location to meet their access needs. Throughout this process, CDR works closely with the Housing office to ensure everything is in place for the student. Sometimes this involves changes in a room configuration; other times, it requires placement in a particular room type, hall, or location.  Keep in mind, this is not common, as many of the accommodations approved by CDR can be met in various locations/resident halls across campus.  And when the housing accommodation can be met in various locations on campus, then the housing office will place students based on the broader room availability and the access needs of other disabled students. 

 In regards to the comment about a student’s experience of having to move with their ESA, while I can’t comment on any specific case, there are times where students have to change locations based on conflicting disability-related access needs.  For example, a student with an ESA and another student with severe allergies. In these situations, housing will work with both students to agree on who should move.  These decisions are on a case by case basis and unique to that situation.” – Paula Possenti-Perez, Director of CDR

Center for Disability Resources (CDR) Portal for Reporting Accommodation Violations

It’s no secret that there are members of SU faculty that are not sensitive to the mental health needs of their students. While there are many that are, many professors at SU tend to ignore the mental health needs of their students. To remedy this issue, we believe that a portal should be created on the CDR website for students to report actions by professors that either violate the list of accommodations professors are supposed to provide or pose a risk to students’ mental health. To accomplish this we will:

  • Meet with the University Senate Curriculum Committee Chair to discuss the accommodations listed in the syllabi 
  • Meet with CDR staff to discuss the current method students would use to report violations
  • Meet with ITS to discuss how we would go about creating the portal on the CDR website
  • Meet with CDR leadership to discuss a framework and timeline for creating the reporting portal

Progress as of September 2020:

We wrote to the CDR staff, specifically Director Paula Marie Possenti-Perez (ppossent@syr.edu), Associate Director Bethany Heaton-Crawford (bbheaton@syr.edu) and Assistant Director Judy Kopp (jkopp@syr.edu).

Potential collaborators now in the loop: 

  • William Myhill (wmyhill@law.syr.edu), key in ADA Compliance and the co-chair of the Disability Community Group (DCG) 
  • Melanie Cuevas-Rodriguez (mcuevas@syr.edu), Equal Opportunity & Title IX Investigator, who investigates and coordinates complaints of discrimination, including when students are denied their accommodations (after CDR has approved them) and other forms of discrimination in the classroom
  • Gina Kelepurovski (gmbavari@syr.edu), Case Coordinator who coordinates all complaints of discrimination and an Investigator is then assigned

We learned about protocols already in place that addresses issues of access and disability discrimination:

In addition to the formal process to address and investigate complaints of discrimination by the Title IX Investigator, EOIRS has a mechanism to report access concerns, that goes directly to William Myhill.  And the Stop Bias portal allows those that have experienced or witnessed a bias-related incident can also report it to the university.  Depending on the nature of the report, the reporter will hear back from either EOIRS, OSL or the Dean of Students Office within three days.

–  After speaking with the Disability Community Group, we decided that the best course of action was to instead create and publicize a frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers on this issue. This is because of the protocols already in place that addresses issues of access and disability discrimination. This is also because students may be hesitant to report accommodations violations because they don’t know many factors (who does the report go to, does the professor find out, does the student hear back, etc). Hopefully the FAQ answers plenty of these questions and addresses these concerns.

Making American Sign Language (ASL) a Recognized Language

Students who are deaf deserve to have the language they use to communicate recognized by Syracuse University. ASL needs to be eligible to fulfill language requirements in all schools and colleges at SU. The conversation concerning this as a possibility has been ongoing for several academic years, and should continue. To meet this goal we will:

  • Meet with the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee to discuss what it would take to recognize ASL as a language and allow students to take ASL classes to meet a language requirement
  • Meet with the Curriculum Committee Chair of the University Senate to get the issue brought to the Committee in the fall, before the curriculum is presented and adopted by the full University Senate

Progress as of September 2020:

We contacted Kira Kristal Reed (kireed@syr.edu) about this as she is the Committee on Curricula Chair.

Kira provided valuable insight on the issue:

ASL is taught out of the School of Education. The College of Arts and Sciences would have to be willing to recognize courses taken outside of their college as a language. 

We are going to speak with leadership from both schools. Kal Alston is the Associate Dean at the School of Education and could be helpful in identifying the issues. 

The curriculum committee of the senate could review this after it has been approved at one, or both schools first. 

Based on this information, we contacted Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Karin Ruhlandt (kruhland@syr.edu), Dean of the School of Education Joanna O Masingila (jomasing@syr.edu), and SOE Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kal Alston (kalston@syr.edu). 

Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Karin Ruhlandt,  Dean of the School of Education Joanna O Masingila, and SOE Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kal Alston are in support of this goal.

The College of Arts and Sciences had worked through the approval within their college. The School of Education has been working over the last year to hire a dual faculty member who would be appointed with the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education to oversee the ASL program. However, with the hiring pause due to the COVID situation, they were not able to finalize the hire. This remains a high priority for both colleges.

-We learned from Rob Hradsky that there is a process in which each academic/departmental unit can make a request to make a position “mission critical”, move it forward with the Provosts office, and process it in Academic Affairs (overseen by Steve Bennett). He said that Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Karin Ruhlandt and Dean of the School of Education Joanna O Masingila would need to endorse the request. We shared this information with them.

Freeze Tuition (#NotAgainSU demand)

This conversation is likely to require as much political pressure as possible. Those who make the decision over tuition, the Board of Trustees, are largely inaccessible to the campus community but it is a fight worth fighting. To accomplish this goal we will:

  • Meet with the Chancellor and other administrators to discuss the possibility of freezing tuition. These meetings will more than likely serve as a way for us to gauge where the administration is when it comes to the financial state of the University. 
  • Meet with leaders of the University Senate, GSO, Student Bar Association (SBA), and other governing/advocacy organizations to gain support for a call to freeze the tuition. 
  • Address this issue in the first Board executive committee meeting in early September and then again in the first full board meeting in early November

Progress as of September 2020:

The Suspend Syracuse University Tuition Increase for 2020-2021 Academic Year petition created by Hunter Shon Franklin and promoted through the SA listserv has received over 8000 signatures. 

Chancellor Syverud met with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to discuss the petition and freezing the tuition is not possible due to the fiscal impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the University. We were told the University is committed to financially supporting students, especially those who face hardship with regard to these COVID-related expenses, to the absolute best of its ability.

Financial Aid Reform

Financial Aid at SU needs to be audited to better support students. Whether that support be financial, in terms of offering more scholarship opportunities, or in terms of logistical support so that students could better communicate with the Financial Aid Office when it comes to assessing student financial needs. To accomplish this we plan to:

  • Meet with the Financial Aid Office leadership to discuss the protocols for communicating with students. In this meeting we need to assess how the financial aid office communicates with students when they are determining their financial aid award. 
  • Design a chat box system on the financial aid office website so that students who have questions or concerns about their financial aid award can resolve their issues in a more efficient manner
  • Meet with ITS to discuss how we would go about creating the chat box system on the financial aid office website

Progress as of September 2020:

We reached out to the leadership of the Financial Aid office about this issue, specifically Michele B Sipley (mbsipley@syr.edu), the Director of Central Financial Aid and KC Woods (kcwoods@syr.edu), the Associate Director. 

We are meeting with Michele (Shelly) Sipley and KC Woods on August 10, 2020. 

  • Financial Aid is open to the chat box system idea so we put them in touch with ITS leadership to pursue this.

 

  • SA will conduct an anonymous survey asking students about their experiences and concerns with the Financial Aid office. A section dedicated to potential solutions will be reflected on the survey. We will share and discuss the results of the survey with Financial Aid office leadership to pursue solutions.

Bring Back Posse LA and Atlanta

We are calling on the University to reinstate the previously cut POSSE programs. To accomplish this we plan on:

  • Meeting with the senior administrators to discuss how the university decides which outside organizations (such as POSSE) to partner with and how they decide to discontinue a partnership with an organization
  • Work with POSSE leadership in several major cities around the country, especially ones that have had relationships with Syracuse Financial Aid in years past to discuss the possibility of resuming a relationship with Syracuse University
  • Work with senior administrators to resume these relationships, so that we can better serve lower income students who wish to come to Syracuse University

Student Employment Reform

Student employment is one area where many low income students rely on. It is clear that students at Syracuse University do not have that, especially when it comes to sufficient pay and access to jobs on campus. We want to work with the Human Resources Department as well as appropriate university departments to examine how student pay is determined and to examine how we could expand the number of “work study/non work study” jobs. To start these conversations we will:

  • Work with the Syracuse University Human Resources Department to determine how student pay is calculated and how much is planned by way of pay increases. In this meeting we hope to start the conversation around supporting international students financially due to the constraints they have on their ability to work. Because of the U.S. Immigration regulations, most international students are capped at working for 20 hours a week. This is financially inaccessible for those who need to earn more money in order to sustain themselves. One of the ways to remedy this is an increase in student pay.
  • Create and send a survey to student employees asking for their feedback concerning the process of applying for jobs as well as the process of obtaining an on campus job
  • Create and send a survey to the general student body asking their experiences applying for on campus jobs
  • Speak with relevant senior administrators who are in charge of designating work study/non work study jobs in hopes of expanding those job opportunities

Progress as of September 2020:

We reached out to the leadership of the Human Resources department about this issue, specifically Andrew Gordon, Sr. VP/Chief Human Resources Officer (agordon@syr.edu), Karen Morrissey, Associate Vice President of Human Resources (kpmorr01@syr.edu), and Stephanie Freeney, Director of Administration (smirwin@syr.edu). 

Student employment is managed by Enrollment and Student Experience Division. For this reason, we are working with Ryan Williams (rcwill05@syr.edu), VP of Enrollment on this issue. 

  • Student pay is based off the minimum wage of the state which is supposed to increase this year.
  • A job is designated as work study or non work study based on the budget of the department.
  • SA will conduct an anonymous survey asking students about their experiences and concerns with student employment. A section dedicated to potential solutions will be reflected on the survey. We will share and discuss the results of the survey with Ryan Williams to pursue solutions.

Textbook Affordability

The average price of books and school supplies for students at both public and private colleges in 2019-2020 is $1,240. For students, but especially low-income students, the price of textbooks can hinder their education. There must be some alternative to requiring such a large amount of money for classes. Especially in times of great economic strife, we should be looking for ways to alleviate the financial burden of coming to SU. To achieve textbook affordability there are three avenues we would like to explore:

  • Meet with the Director of Auxiliary Services to look at programs that have been examined in the past and to evaluate programs for the future
  • Meet with deans and senior leadership at each school and college to evaluate how we can limit textbook costs that have been passed on to students
  • Work with the SU Bookstore to discuss how books are identified and purchased, as well as to examine ways of limiting costs at the bookstore across all products for academic use
  • Researching textbook affordability programs at peer institutions
  • Work with the University Senate to create a resolution that limits professors on how much they can ask for students to buy costwise, or that limits the amount of textbooks they can ask students to buy

Progress as of September 2020:

We reached out to Jennifer Uryniak (jlurynia@syr.edu), the interim director of Auxiliary Services. 

She connected with us to Roger Hailstork (rchailst@syr.edu), the director of the Syracuse University Bookstore. He has pulled together the attached list of initiatives and programs which provide savings on textbooks for students. We are working closely with him and Kris Klinger (klingerk@syr.edu), the new AVP for Auxiliary Services, on this issue.

In terms of the first step, re: “meet with deans and senior leadership at each school and college to evaluate how we can limit textbook costs that have been passed on to students”, we are going to reach out to Martha A Diede (madiede@syr.edu), the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). She is in charge of the faculty development function that provides professional training and development for faculty and we believe this is the person that would take the lead on things like this. We will also let her know about Verba Collect (if she doesn’t already) and see if she can play a role in encouraging faculty to truly assess the Affordability Score before making any final decisions.

In terms of the last step, re: “Work with the University Senate to create a resolution that limits professors on how much they can ask for students to buy cost-wise, or that limits the amount of textbooks they can ask students to buy”, we were informed by Kira Reed, the USen Committee Curricula Chair, that this past academic year, Christine Ashby and Natasha Cooper were the co-chairs of the Academic Affairs Senate Committee so we will be reaching out to them on tackling this issue together and creating the resolution. Within that resolution, we can also encourage faculty to truly assess the Affordability Score in Verba Collect before making any final decisions.

  • SA’s Academic Affairs co -chairs, Louisa Mancuso and Amaar Asif, are taking the lead on this issue.

End Three Year Housing Requirement

Students who come to Syracuse already pay $4493 per semester in a “room” fee, which for fall 2020 amounts to roughly $1300 per month. This is more than most students would be paying by deciding to live off campus in a shared apartment. Students are already required to live on campus for two academic years. Requiring students to live on campus for another year would pose a significant financial burden to them. We hope to work with upper administration to identify avenues of ending this requirement. We will:

  • Meet with Chancellor Syverud to identify where this decision came from and to convince him of how this poses a significant financial burden to students at Syracuse
  • Work with the Office of Student Living to assess a timeline for the proposed requirement
  • Work with the Office of Student Living and Housing Office to identify more affordable housing options for students
  • Use information from meeting with the Chancellor to identify groups and administrators who have the ability to alter or stop the 3 year housing agreement

Expand the Free GRE Program

Many students will need to take the GRE to apply to a post graduate program. Recently the University has offered a free GRE Prep program, but has limited seating available for the class. We propose increasing the class size so that we can offer it to as many students as possible. To do this we will:

  • Work with Amanda Nicholson and leaders within the Provost’s office who worked with SA in years past to expand the current GRE Prep Program
  • Contact Career Services to see what we can do to expand other options for GRE Prep (such as collection of GRE Prep books)
  • Work with GSO leadership to evaluate a possible partnership between graduate students and undergraduate students 

Dining Contracts

The University has various company contracts that they negotiate regularly with such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King to provide dining options to students with SUID Food Money. Many students have expressed a desire for more financially accessible options as well as better chain restaurants to be contracted for SU dining centers and cafes. To start this conversation we will:

  • Meet with Dining and Food Services staff to ascertain how contracts are determined and what consideration is taken when deciding to sign a contract with a specific company
  • Create and send a survey to the general student body to determine what they are looking for in dining contracts
  • Examine the results of the survey with Food Services so we can better inform future contracting decision

Progress as of September 2020

We reached out to Food Services Commissary and Main Offices Directors Sue Bracy (smbracy@syr.edu) and Mark Tewksbury (mhtewksb@syr.edu).

Code of Student Conduct Section 17

Code of Student Conduct (CSC) Section 17 is also known as the “student leadership clause” because it assumes a level of responsibility for students who hold campus leadership positions. This can lead to students who were unaware of events occurring or were unable to stop events from occurring being held accountable for those events taking place. We believe this section should be modified or removed from the CSC especially because it can deter students from wanting to take on leadership positions. To accomplish this we will:

  • Meet with the Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities leadership to determine how the section is applied in conduct board cases
  • Meet with the Dean of Students office to determine why this section exists and whether or not this section has caused more problems than it has solved
  • Meet with leaders of Registered Student Organizations to determine this sections impact on students seeking leadership opportunities on campus
  • Work with the Dean of Students Office and OSRR to modify the section to alleviate concerns among student leaders on campus. 

Progress as of September 2020:

We reached out to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities Director Sheriah Dixon (snmontgo@syr.edu) and Associate Director Eric Nestor (emnestor@syr.edu). We found out that the student code of conduct has already been approved for this upcoming year but we are meeting to discuss the issue in early September so the necessary changes can roll out the next academic year.