‘Party Done?’ – An Open Letter To My Alma Mater

12216790-large

photo courtesy of syracuse.com

I write this piece as a concerned alumna that is extremely devastated by the events that have occurred this past weekend at Syracuse University party. While details are still developing, I just hope that this incident opens the eyes of many. I love my school dearly and know that it’s possible for us to move forward from this moment. 

My Dearest ‘Cuse, 

It’s been almost two years since I’ve strolled your majestic hills, braved your chilling winter cold, and frolicked merrily on the quad in the spring. But with all of these great memories I’ve made, there are somethings that are more bittersweet to address than others.

This past weekend, what seemed like a normal event took a slight turn for the worse. Over the course of my four years, I made countless memories attending ‘Schine’ parties with all of my friends. Dressing up, or dressing down, each party yielded the same result — great music, tons of dancing with my friends and the crossing of different paths from all walks of campus. Schine parties were quintessential to my Syracuse University experience–no matter who you were, you could always hear someone speaking about how great a Schine party was for weeks after it took place.  The most recent party that I am speaking of seemed like a long awaited collaboration, and as an alumna I was super excited to see two different organizations encouraging students to come together and have a good time.

 

322_1113157306138_6500_n

first schine party of fall 2008.

But that doesn’t go to say that there weren’t times when things would get out of hand and there would be a little scuffle or two once the lights came on and it was time to go home. Sure, sometimes certain crowds of people don’t get along and a few angry words are exchanged– it’s expected, it’s a party. And by the time 2 a.m. rolls around, people are tired and a bit drunk disoriented.

But never in my experience attending a party in Goldstein Auditorium was there anything that even came close to a “brawl”. (Heck, even the word just sounds so brash and ugly.) Sure a few admittance rules have changed (i.e., college ID and ticket required, beefed up security) but hearing first-hand accounts of friends of mine that are current students at SU saying that they no longer feel safe on campus has left me startled, confused and saddened. And the coverage from the Syracuse media doesn’t to help clear the air much more either.

With so much confusion going around and the reputations of eight students slightly tarnished, I think it’s time we stop and ask ourselves, “Where did we go wrong, and how can we prevent something like this from happening ever again?”

This letter isn’t to point the blame at who started the fights, or the parties that were involved, because we all are guilty of the unfortunate events that took place. (Yes, all of us.) But it is to acknowledge something a little bit deeper. As we all know, the population that readily attends Schine parties are students of color (everyone is encouraged to attend, of course.) And because this particular party was a first-time collaboration, my hypothesis is that it widened the spectrum of students that made plans to attend. But this is no time to chat logistics — the bottom line is that this event shines a very bright light and stinging on race relations on campus. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, this situation is being perceived as a race issue. Just peep the first comment left on the story published by the Daily Orange:

“Hmmm, could it be that this event mess and others like it are partly caused by: 1) Who is attending? And is connected to Cantor’s clear lowering of admission-standards for some groups, along with the push to bring in inner-city students to SU (lower levels of maturity, scruples, values, etc)? 2) SU’s support for and even sponsorship of large minority events?” – Bostonway

 

We have heard stories time and time again about the division of certain groups on campus: members of Greek-letter organizations, athletes, ect. But as much as we may find ourselves divided, there are so many more things that bring us together too.

It shouldn’t take a situation like this for conversations of race to happen –it’s a college campus, challenging conversation should be taking place all the time. But here’s the catch: with thought-provoking conversation must come dutiful and diligent action too. It’s time to shake things up–not just for yourselves, but for your peers and the future students of Syracuse University. Prove people like ‘Bostonway’ wrong — that the diversity on our campus is not just a way for our Chancellor to “damage” our university’s reputation, but to widen the opportunity gap for students of ALL races, backgrounds and beliefs. Schine parties are just one of the many long-standing traditions at SU that shouldn’t be jeopardized, and I can only speak for myself but it would be a sad day if suddenly they were no more.

In my opinion, this is a serious wake up call for the students, staff, faculty and administration of Syracuse University. From the Senior Vice President and Dean of the Division of Student Affairs to Department of Public Safety to the Syracuse Police Department, this needs to be discussed not just because it’s current news, but for the sake of all students’ safety on campus. And while there may be some that may think, “I wasn’t at the party, so this doesn’t effect  me.” Buy a vowel, phone a friend and rethink your answer on that one bro.

In closing, I hope that my fellow Orange men and women take a stand and demand change on our beloved campus. Additionally,  I hope the administration does even more to ensure that the safety of its students remains a number one priority, and collaborate with the students to come up with how they all can move forward from this tragic situation. As for the eight students that were arrested early Sunday morning, keep your heads up and continue to be the student leaders on campus that you are. To all students, use your resources. Rally your friends and continue to be the good you all want to see. You all have the power to incite so much change on campus (see what I did there?) It maybe a long haul, but your diligence to fight for what’s right will remain long after you’ve left campus.

Forever Orange,

Chasity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s