#BringBackTheAC… because healing after rape means feeling safe and finding your voice again


Email for Chancellor Syverud

Below is an email response from the Chancellor that was sent out to students.

July 1, 2014

Dear Orange Friends:

As we enter the heart of summer, which gives us all time to reflect, I have been thinking a lot about two tough issues.

The first is the integration and alignment of the services of the Advocacy Center with the Counseling Center and the offices of Student Assistance and Health Promotion. I know change is hard and this has been a tough change for some students and campus community members.

This change was made for the most important of reasons: to provide the best possible service to students affected by sexual violence. This includes providing completely confidential and privileged services under recent federal guidelines and state law that allows survivors to make choices that are right for them as they seek support. This new structure is the same as other similar and well-respected centers in Syracuse, including Vera House and the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.

I have heard from students, faculty, staff and other supporters of the Advocacy Center and I respect and value their passionately held views about its importance. I do not intend to revert to the previous structure, but I do want to preserve within the new structure the positive contributions the Advocacy Center made to our campus community. To ensure this occurs, I will be appointing a Chancellor’s Workgroup on Sexual Violence Prevention, Education and Advocacy, which will include students, faculty and staff representatives. The workgroup will provide Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, senior vice president and dean of student affairs, and her staff with ideas, suggestions and proposals for how aspects of the Advocacy Center’s programs and services can be better integrated within the new structure. While I want this effort to begin right away, I expect the workgroup’s activities won’t fully begin until everyone returns to campus in August.

The second issue I have been reflecting on is freedom of speech. I’ve learned that when people are passionate about issues we (including me) occasionally say things that annoy or offend others. Yet it is vital, at a great university, that people become passionate about ideas and issues and that we hear from those with different, passionately held views. For that reason, I think we should be very careful before trying to punish “offensive” or “annoying” speech. The best response, I believe, to speech that offends or annoys us is more speech, hopefully civil and responsible. In any event, during this July 4th week, I want you to know I am a believer in free speech and I hope to model that in the future.


Chancellor Kent Syverud

1989 Task Force and the original call for a Rape Center

Credit to Jason Luther for bringing this to our attention…

“I wanted to post some historical documents that help provide a context for the original genesis of the AC. These were printed in the DO on Oct 16, 1989. Importantly, The Chancellor’s Task Force on Rape was created in response to intense student pressure (including a large vigil in Walnut Park the day before) to make the campus safer in light of increases in sexual assault, including a high profile rape case involving an SU football player and a freshman in DellPlain. For more on this see John Robert Greene’s book, Syracuse University: Vol 5, Chapter 13.”

Task Force DO Oct 16, 1989 (<— pdf link, click here)

Email from Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz

Below is an email sent out by Rebecca Kantrowitz in response to the first Listening Meeting. The next meeting will be July 30th, 4:30-6:00 in Panaschi Lounge in the Schine Student Center.

June 27, 2014

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I would like to thank the campus community members who attended our first Listening Meeting on June 23, at which we discussed the realignment of the Advocacy Center services. I believe it was an honest, heartfelt and productive dialogue that allowed us to clarify questions, enable campus community members to share their concerns and begin to think about next steps within the new structure.

As I shared at the meeting, having heard from many people since May 30, I do believe what we have in common is a strong desire to build a caring, understanding and connected community that is committed to preventing sexual assault and relationship violence.

As I indicated in my previous letter, we designated the Counseling Center to serve as the primary point of access for students seeking services related to sexual violence because of the following reasons:
As a confidential and privileged resource, it affords students the maximum privacy under federal and state law. This will provide clarity to students affected by sexual violence and offer them a full sense of control and freedom to make choices that are right for them the moment they reach out and seek support.
The center has 17 trained staff members who provide advocacy and counseling services to students impacted by sexual and/or relationship violence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The University will continue reporting non-identifying information regarding incidents of sexual violence to the federal government and make that data publicly available. While the Advocacy Center is no longer a stand-alone entity, the services it provided will continue and be enhanced under the new structure. At the Listening Meeting, five key themes emerged from both attendees and Student Affairs staff:
Decision-making process
Privileged vs. confidential
Counseling Center services
Educating the campus community about the new structure
A more complete summary of Monday’s meeting will be posted soon on the Student Affairs website. In addition, dates for future Listening Meetings, along with summaries of those meetings, will be posted there as well. Our next Listening Meeting will be held on July 30 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Panasci Lounge at the Schine Student Center.

I look forward to hearing any new thoughts or concerns at future Listening Meetings in July and moving forward.

Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz
Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Listening Meeting #1 Attendance

For those who were not at the meeting yesterday, here is a list of people who were on the University’s “panel” so to speak…

Rebecca Kantrowitz, Dean of Student Affairs
Cory Wallack, Director of the Counseling Center
Rebecca Dayton, Associate Vice President of Health and Wellness
Katelyn Cowen, Director of the Office of Health Promotion
Cynthia Maxwell Curtin, Title IX Coordinator
Jill Ouikahilo, Director of Communications/Media Relations for Student Affairs

The Chancellor was not present.