The #NotAgainSU movement has gripped not only the Central New York community but the national news landscape for the better part of the last week. Numerous bias incidents fueled by racist and anti-Semitic language and symbols have been reported across the Syracuse University Campus. These incidents plus a lack of response by the University have led to a sit-in protest at the brand-new Barnes Center that’s working into its seventh day as of Monday night.
That protest has garnered massive amounts of attention throughout the region as other schools weigh in and national news organizations like the Today Show and NBC News Tonight travel to Syracuse to cover the protest. Because of its high-profile nature, many prominent figures in the community have been asked to comment on the events that continue to unfold while others have visited the protestors at the Barnes Center.
That list includes SU basketball coach Jim Boeheim who brought pizza to protestors before the Orange’s matchup with Seattle on Saturday night. Because of comments he had made earlier in the week after the Colgate game, the protestors voted to not accept the pizza and donate it. Boeheim spoke with students about their concerns and many protestors thanked him for being there. Here’s how Coach Boeheim and other prominent SU sports figures are responding to the #NotAgainSU protests.
“What you’re doing is what we do in this country. This is how you evoke change. Remember, I was here in the 60s. This is not even a protest compared to the 60s. I went through that.”
“This is the way things do get to change. I’m not saying in any way shape or form that anything is okay. Even if we found out who did this and who didn’t do it, that doesn’t change what you’re all saying. I think that’s something that the University has to come to grips with.”
“I’m here to support you and I will continue to support you.”
“The one thing I’ve always felt since I’ve been here, the people in charge, the chancellors through the years have listened. They don’t always do what we all want them to do, whether it’s what I want or whether it’s what you want. But I’ve always felt that there were people here that would listen. Does that mean things are perfect? No it doesn’t.”
“I 100% support everybody here and the position they have and for the University to look at everything here and try to come to good outcomes on everything that this group is involved with here today.”
Buddy accompanied his father to the sit-in at the Barnes Center on Saturday afternoon. He read over the list of demands that #NotAgainSU has made in response to what the University is calling “bias incidents”.
Like Buddy, Hughes also attended the sit-in with Coach Boeheim on Saturday. After the win over Seattle, he sent out this Tweet in support of the movement.
After the Orange’s huge win against Duke on Saturday both Dino Babers and players were asked their opinions on the #NotAgainSU protests.
“Even though that is the pressing issue and it’s probably the most important issue, when they’re playing the game, they really need to stay locked in because if they don’t, they could hurt themselves. I would like for them to stay locked in on the game and be focused and even celebrate afterwards but when we go back, we’re going to back to campus and all that stuff is going to be there.”
“I’m sure they’re going to have their opinions and they have their rights by the first amendment and I’m all for that.”
Dino was asked a similar question at his weekly press conference on Monday.
“It’s nothing that we’ve talked about in a major meeting. If those guys want to talk about that stuff, we always end our meetings with one of those free times where they can bring up anything they want to bring up. They have not brought that up yet.”
“I think it’s their constitutional right to protest anything and have free speech. It’s all written into the Constitution. That’s what makes us different than everyone else I believe.”
The sophomore safety posted a picture of the cleats he wore in Saturday’s game with #NotAgainSU written on the heel on his Instagram story.
“It definitely means a lot for the athletes, more than a lot of the students may know because we don’t have a lot of time to be able to put the time into being there with them when we’ve got practice and all those other things, but it definitely means a lot that they’re trying to do something about it.”
“I’m actually doing a lot more research now, just trying to find out more about it and learn more information. I went to the sit-in and just try to gain as much information as I can because obviously it’s a serious thing.”