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Problems At SU- Time to Address These

DadandProfDadandProf 0 replies1 threads New Member
I am a (former) proud SU alum (Newhouse). Let me also say I am a professor at a large university in the Northeast. I know the behind the scenes of university life well. My daughter had Syracuse on her list a couple of years back. She chose not to attend SU, and I cannot say I am disappointed. When we visited, I had not been back in a while. I looked around the campus and M street and it all looked the same - in a stale way. They added new structures, but it looked run down and the atmosphere was the same. The frats and sororities on Walnut Park carried the same vibe. I was in a fraternity while at SU, and looking back, I am embarrassed at my behavior from that time. I spoke with many students and faculty while there. My instincts told me it was still the mid-1990's vibe here. Syracuse for all its national presence and strong alumni network was just not what it seemed to be. Recent events are proving my instincts correct. I am sure there are pockets of excellence, but overall, SU has become an overpriced institution that needs to look internally and change its toxic culture. When SU said they added almost 100 safety officers to patrol dorm areas 24/7 after assessing campus needs, I was disappointed in their trying to spin it. The bottom line is that the dorms were not safe and the campus was not safe. A university does not add almost 100 officers in new positions unless something is terribly wrong. Stop spinning it. Admit it and fix the problem. Parents’ number 1 priority is the safety of their children. SU was always sketchy just off campus especially around Brewster/Boland but adding almost 100 officers tells me something more was amiss. The recent incidents with the fraternities and the racist episodes in general also tells me the culture at SU is also not what is portrayed in the brochures. This was happening while I was there. Hazing was rampant and nobody seemed to want to clamp down on the Greek culture. The stereotype was of well-heeled white kids who could pay tuition acting out of control. I cannot say I agreed with that stereotype then or now, but it certainly seems like SU refuses to bring Greek life under control. The incidents of racism and hazing students you hear are just the surface. Universities are good telling you the stories they want you to hear but even better at capping stories they do not want you to hear. Public safety officers can tell you stories you would not believe. Many universities struggle with racist incidents right now. Also, it is not just Greek culture. It would be unfair to characterize all Greek culture as racist or boorish. At SU though, it does seem to be embedded deeper in the culture. Should you send your son or daughter to SU? That is your call. I am sure someone could easily rebut what I have written, and most students have an excellent experience at SU I am sure. However, ask yourself why 100 officers were added for safety, why the fraternities and sororities continue to haze and act boorishly in this day and age, why sexual assault is not addressed in a proper way (did not really get into this in this post) and why the racist incidents on campus went unchecked by a nonresponsive administration for so long. I love you SU. Please SU, fix it. Fix it now.
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Replies to: Problems At SU- Time to Address These

  • AJinPghAJinPgh 9 replies1 threads New Member
    I also went to SU (Newhouse) and my son would love to go there next year. When we visited I thought the campus looked great but the Marshall Street area...whoa! I couldn't believe how run down it was. The new veterans building they are putting right there on the corner is the icing on the cake. No more small college town ambiance or fun local restaurants/bars/shops. Fagans is the only one still there that IC could see. I would like to know where the kids even go now- I didn't see anywhere else.
    I am also concerned about the 100 extra officers you mention they added. I would need to really look into that before he would accept there. Also-WTH with the pricetag?!! You and I both know that there is no WAY the SU education is worth that much, no matter what school you are in.
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  • MSMDADMSMDAD 812 replies58 threads Member
    I, too, went to SU and have two children that were admitted, but decided no to attend. I have visited the campus at least once a year since I graduated, typically for Orange Central. In any case, I don't think that M Street looks much different than when I was there many moons ago, except for the large residential building that was built behind it - a true monstrosity! In so far as the campus vibe, I have noted in the last five years or so that there are many more Asian students than before. And my anecdotal observation when walking around campus (I was last there in September) is that students of all backgrounds mingle and have a good time together. I still think, though, that the main campus is gorgeous - love the quad and the way Crouse dominates the campus as you look at it from Newhouse. The area that I would say looks kind of "stale" is South Campus housing (what we called "Skytop" when I lived there).

    I attribute the recent racist incidents to be, unfortunately, a representation of the times that we live in. I am very proud that SU students responded in the way that they did. Take a look at the pictures of the hundreds of students involved in the anti-racism demonstrations and you will see a representative sample of students from all backgrounds. As an aside, my son goes to a university in Wisconsin, UW at Eau Claire, that has had a series of high profile race issues and the students did not react as SU students did.

    As to the comment regarding the price tag of SU, I wholeheartedly agree that it is excessive, but it is not lower than similar elite universities.
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  • AmkngkAmkngk 191 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Alum and current parent of 2 SU students. On campus right now, in fact.

    M Street (kids now call it Marshall and laugh when I call it “M Street) is less vibrant because of a combination of factors. When I was there in the late 80s, students could still drink legally. Now most can’t, so no bars. Independent retail has been challenged by chain stores and restaurants, and online ordering through Amazon has eliminated most retail for “things.” Online food ordering through Grubhub and DoorDash now means M Street restaurants are not the only options and many can’t compete. Now Uber and Lyft make all of Syracuse metro accessible.

    The lack of bars means drinking goes underground, which means fraternities. However, I don’t think the University has refused to crack down on frats. In fact, I think they’d like to be rid of them, and take the real estate. But the process is tough, and many moneyed alum are highly connected to Greek life. I was stunned to learn that it is very very difficult for freshmen men to get a fraternity bid, because so many houses have been shut down or placed on probation. Pledge classes average 15, while sorority pledge classes average 60+ and there are far more sororities.

    The 100 officers — many are for escort services after dark. That is one place where I would agree that student safety could be better. There are not great options for kids walking across campus alone. The officers in residence halls are long overdue. However, my own (uninformed) opinion is that much of the racist graffiti in the forms that sparked this would not have been prevented by officers in dorms — it was either residents of the dorm or their guests.

    What is happening on campus now is awful, and I agree with the protestors that the administration has given lip service over the years to addressing incidents of hate and racism and calling them for what they are. But in actuality, I think that the protests and all that surround them has in a weird way brought much of the campus together. I do think there will be some effective reforms. I do not know if those reforms will be led by the current administration or further forced into place by students and faculty (many of whom appear to support the student concerns). In any regard, I think the courage, determination and organization that the students have shown over the last few weeks actually shows that they are receiving an amazing education and are doing great things.

    My kids are both thriving and making their Syracuse University experience their own. It does not look much like mine, or my husband’s, and in fact I think their education and opportunities are greater, which is all I can ask.
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  • twicemamatwicemama 210 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Curious what you all think of this new student tracking app Syracuse and a few other schools are using? Seems overbearing and unnecessary to me.. more data gathering on this generation.
    I was shocked to read this!
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/12/24/colleges-are-turning-students-phones-into-surveillance-machines-tracking-locations-hundreds-thousands/
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  • MAmom111MAmom111 224 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Anyone have a guess as to how this is impacting applications this year? My D has a couple friends for whom SU is their first choice....wondering if this might actually help them get in.
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