Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead an investigation of Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety. SU Chancellor Kent Syverrud made the announcement Monday.
In a statement, Syverrud said the review is necessary, given concerns of how DPS officers have interacted with students and protesters.
A black-led student protest called #NotAgainSU has been occupying Crouse-Hinds Hall for more than a week, protesting racist and anti-Semitic incidents and calling for the resignations of top SU officials. Protesters said DPS officers denied them outside food and other supplies at the beginning of their protest and have accused DPS officers of assault.
Amanda Nicholson, interim deputy senior vice president of enrollment and the student experience, said the hiring of Lynch, who now works for a private law firm, is acknowledgment that the university can do better.
“Getting an outside view on your protocols and processes to figure out if you’re doing the right thing, the thing that’s current, the thing that’s most appropriate for today’s young people, is a good thing to do," Nicholson said. "We should be humble enough not to think that we know everything.”
But the announcement came as a surprise to protesters. One SU senior and #NotAgainSU organizer, who did not want to give her name, said it’s disappointing that no student representatives were included on the decision.
“Not to say that #NotAgainSU has a problem with Loretta Lynch, but it’s not what we asked for," the student said. "The administration is continuing to disregard the demands that we came here to push for and proposing things without student involvement.”
A revised list of demands by the protesters calls for a tuition freeze, for the univeristy to publicly identify and expel perpetrators of bias-related incidents, and for DPS officers to stop carrying firearms.