On November 19, students at the University of Syracuse found themselves in a frightening situation. A number of students studying in a library were anonymously sent a racist manifesto that propagated the idea of a "great replacement," which is an extremist right-wing theory that white people will succumb to a minority-led genocide.
Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds.
Although Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said the racist document was likely sent as a hoax, it is not the first significant racist event at the school in recent days. Just four days prior the university was compelled to suspend all activities at fraternities and sororities after a group of fraternity brothers harassed a female African American student with a racial slur. A week prior to that incident, racist graffiti including swastikas were found at various locations across campus.
Federal law enforcement attempted to trace the manifesto back to the creator and found it uploaded to a Greek life forum. An investigation into the incident has been issued, but police officials shut down the idea of a "credible threat" behind the manifesto.
Students, however, feel differently.
Many decided to skip their classes and stay in their dorms, calling their parents in the worries of their safety. Professors were forced to cancel classes after students failed to show up repeatedly. The university's public safety department doubled its patrol forces around residence and campus halls.
Syverud released a public response on the university's website, stating that "they are aware of the concrete concerns related to the environment for diversity and inclusion on our campus," and "we face real challenges here and we operate in a fraught national climate." The administration did little to nothing to address the issue, and students voiced their disappointment by holding sit-ins at university buildings and circulating the hashtag #NotAgainSU on social media. The students demanded action be taken against the perpetrators and to reform their curriculum to educate students about racism.
As a university student myself, I understand the fear within the community of the University of Syracuse.
For the most part, campuses are wide open, and it is not difficult to break into residence halls. Any deranged racist could strike at any time. The University did not do enough to address the incidents, it is embarrassing that the students are needing to stage sit-ins for them to realize this.
Let's be real: if a POC had released a manifesto, the situation right now would be completely different.
Because this is targeting minorities, the 80 percent white faculty at the University of Syracuse is downplaying the issue.
In a nation that has a famously racist president, the release of this manifesto is disturbing but not surprising. Xenophobia thrives in the Oval Office, and it is very evidently branching out across the country.