Category Archives: News

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.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Kent Syverud

Email from Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz RE: Listening Meetings

Many of you may have received an email from Rebecca Kantrowitz regarding a series of Listening Meetings she plans to hold throughout the summer months and into the fall semester. Below I have attached the email for those who did not receive it and would like to read it.

June 19, 2014

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Many of you have shared your thoughts and feelings about the recent decision, which was made based on my recommendation to Chancellor Syverud, to integrate and align the services of the Advocacy Center with the Counseling Center and the offices of Student Assistance and Health Promotion.
I know there are campus community members and other thoughtful individuals who don’t agree with this decision. Today I want to briefly explain why this change was made and let you know how we plan to do a better job of listening and responding to your questions and concerns.
Under the new structure, we have designated the Counseling Center to serve as the primary point of access for students seeking services related to sexual violence. 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.
This designation was made because the Counseling Center is the place on campus that can offer students access to completely confidential and privileged services under federal guidelines and state law, similar to services offered at community resources, including Vera House and the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. This distinction is important because privileged services afford students the maximum privacy under law. We believe this is the right decision that will provide clarity to students affected by sexual violence and offer them a full sense of control and the freedom to make choices that are right for them the moment they reach out and seek support. At the same time, the University will continue reporting non-identifying, statistical data 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. I am pleased to inform you that Janet Epstein and Jill Sneider from the Advocacy Center have accepted positions in which they will continue to provide students advocacy and education services. Janet will be an important asset in the Office of Student Assistance and Jill will be in the Office of Health Promotion continuing to support student groups that do the critical work of sexual assault and relationship violence prevention education on campus.
I want you to know that in meetings, phone calls, and emails I, along with the Chancellor, have heard both positive and negative feedback from members of the campus community. I value this feedback greatly. As this new structure is implemented, I want to continue to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how it can be shaped to best serve our students and address the suggestions and concerns we have heard. With this in mind, I will be hosting a series of listening meetings for the campus community in June, July, and August, and into the fall semester.
I invite you to join me at the first Listening Meeting, this Monday, June 23, from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. in the Panasci Lounge at the Schine Student Center. I know there will be many who won’t be able to attend this initial meeting so I will report back to you with a summary. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts with me directly by email at rrkantro@syr.edu or by phone at 315-443-4263.
Sincerely,

Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz
Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs