Late Monday night, someone allegedly AirDropped a white supremacist manifesto — specifically, the one penned by New Zealand's mosque shooter, according to the Associated Press — to students studying in Bird Library at Syracuse University.
This is reportedly just the latest in a string of 10 reports concerning racist, anti-Semitic, and otherwise bigoted behavior at the upstate school since November 7th, incidents that have involved hate speech, racist graffiti, and vandalism. According to the NY Times, the manifesto circulated this week dealt with "replacement theory," the central thesis of which holds that falling birthrates among white women (the feminists' fault, you see) will open the door for non-white people to replace white people. It's a fully unhinged idea, but one popular among far-right conspiracists and white power groups. In addition to students' iPhones and iPads, it also landed on an online "forum geared to those interested in Greek life," the Times reports.
"We don't know the author. We don't know what the intent of it was. It's a very disturbing document if you read it," Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said at a news conference on Tuesday, according to the AP.
"We know that this is an unsettled time and our community is anxious," Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado added, emphasizing that the investigation did not suggest that the manifesto posed any "direct threat" to the student body.
Indeed, the Times reports that many students have holed up in their dorm rooms since the incident. "This triggered a panic,” one student told the paper. “We can’t sleep. We can’t think.”
Still others have participated in daily sit-ins convened in response to the University's handling of the recent spate of hate-fueled incidents, including: A swastika drawn in the snow; graffiti disparaging Asian people scrawled in academic and residential buildings; racial slurs hurled at a Black student as she passed a frat house. The school reportedly suspended the fraternity responsible, along with all other fraternity social events for the rest of the semester.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Kent Syverud agreed to students' demands that the University pledge over $1 million toward "(1) extensive additional resources to assure greater safety for our students; (2) clarity in the Code of Student Conduct so that all have clear understanding of the expectations and consequences for incidents like those in the past 10 days; (3) decisions about SEM 100 so that they are implementable in time for the 2020 fall semester; (4) facility decisions that support a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students including international students and students of color; and (5) hiring additional staff in significant areas of concern."
"We face real challenges here and we operate in a fraught national climate," Syverud wrote in a statement posted to the University's website.
Governor Andrew Cuomo does not believe Syverud's overtures go far enough. On Tuesday, Cuomo released a statement saying the Chancellor's handling of the incident fails to "instill confidence." He called on the Board of Trustees to bring in an outside investigator to work with the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force, which he also directed to look into the manifesto.
The hateful activities at Syracuse University are most disturbing, not only to the Syracuse University community, but to the greater community of New York. They have not been handled in a manner that reflects this state's aggressive opposition to such odious, reckless, reprehensible behavior. That these actions should happen on the campus of a leading New York university makes this situation even worse.
As we have learned repeatedly, these increasing exhibitions of hate and bigotry must be handled strongly, swiftly and justly. That must be both the reality and the perception. Syracuse University and its leadership have failed to do that. It is your obligation to remedy the situation immediately.
The university will hold a community forum this evening at 6 p.m., focusing on campus safety and student concerns.