By: Zachary Draves
Syracuse University was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents on campus.
This propelled students to take action and organize the #NotAgainSU movement.
A coalition of students of color and international students staged a sit-in at the health and wellness center known as the Barnes Center and released a list of demands that included mandatory diversity training for staff and faculty, expulsion for the students who are responsible for racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, changes to the curriculum, and for the resignation of SU Chancellor Kent Syverud.
The students received tremendous support on campus and beyond, which also included the Syracuse basketball team and members of the football team.
It started with a press conference involving legendary basketball coach Jim Boeheim who openly expressed support for the protesters and evening visiting with them to show where he stood on the issue.
Then, on Nov. 20th, the entire basketball team came onto the court before their game at the Carrier Dome against Cornell, wearing t-shirts with the hashtag #NotAgainSU in solidarity.
Around this time, some of the football players took their support to social media.
Sophomore safety Andre Cisco wrote #NotAgainSU on his cleats SU’s game against Duke and posted it on twitter.
The quarterback Tommy DeVito posted his on his Instagram a story that called for classes to be canceled in acknowledgment of the protest.
Seniors Moe Neal (running back) and Kenneth Ruff (defensive end) expressed online of their intentions to visit and even join in the sit-in.
The significance of having these athletes showing their solidarity for their fellow students in the quest for a safer and equitable campus is palpable.
It is even more admirable given the risk that comes with being a student-athlete who is outspoken.
Given the clear exploitation that exists within the NCAA where the student-athletes are the unpaid laborers that generate the billions in profits for the sporting bourgeoisie, an act of social protest on the part of the athletes can be interpreted as an act of liberation from the rigid standards of supposed “amateur athletics”.
It signifies that athletes have a voice to be heard and a presence to be recognized.
Even though the sit-in has ended and while the University says that it will fulfill the demands of the protesters (with the exception of the Chancellor’s resignation), only time will tell if the University really cares about their student’s well-being, but two things are for certain.
One, the power of the students rising up and demanding justice and accountability is a powerful sentiment of each generation, just look at the history of student protest on a global scale.
Second, the power of the student-athlete using their platform in strong solidarity for the cause takes it to a whole new level and there is the history to back that up as well.
At the end of the day, All Power to the People.