Editorial Board

When Chancellor Kent Syverud talks politics, he’s thinking of students

Wasim Ahmed | Staff Photographer

During and after a semester of protests, Chancellor Kent Syverud started addressing many of President Donald Trump's policies through emails.

Chancellor Kent Syverud’s campus-wide emails have rightfully taken a turn for the political in recent months amid federal policy changes that affect the lives of students.

Syverud has sent emails directly responding to several of President Donald Trump’s executive orders: the travel ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, the transgender military ban and, on Tuesday, the announcement to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, including some students at SU.

While Syverud’s denouncements of Trump’s actions may be mistaken as an outlet for his personal beliefs, it’s important to remember these statements are indicative of Syverud’s willingness to localize and humanize these issues to support SU students who are affected by the policies.

As the ultimate leader of the university, Syverud should be expected to respond to political matters that affect members of the SU community. Syverud’s Tuesday email went beyond comforting students with words. He provided concrete examples of what SU is doing to protect students affected by recent changes in U.S. immigration law, including the opportunity for a path to degree completion.

When DACA recipients got a bombshell today, they — and other concerned college students — likely looked to authority figures for some sort of guidance. Syverud’s quick response was essential to providing DACA recipients with as much reassurance as he could.

Syverud can’t ignore that marginalized students are facing constant shakeups under the Trump administration, and his timely email responses can help keep SU students as calm as possible throughout the uncertainty.

Since Trump’s election — and even before — the SU campus has been host to protests that advocated for greater diversity and the sanctuary campus movement. And it’s no secret the university community tends to lean liberals. When Syverud didn’t immediately denounce the travel ban in January, he was faced with 268 signatures on a petition urging him to do so.

But that doesn’t mean Syverud is getting political by making sure these issues are being discussed campus-wide. It means he’s putting the student population first.

 

The Daily Orange Editorial Board serves as the voice of the organization and aims to contribute the perspectives of students to discussions that concern Syracuse University and the greater Syracuse community. The editorial board’s stances are determined by a majority of its members. You can read more about the editorial board here.

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