Interestingly, this email was sent to the student body from Chancellor Nancy Cantor yesterday morning at 9:12a. Was it SU displaying sensitivity to the horror that has unfolded at Penn State? Or a preemptive strike to show attentiveness to the ugly allegations against Bernie Fine the following evening on ESPN? Maybe both. For what it’s worth, Syracuse University’s opening statement is a far better response than anything that has happened in Happy Valley. Identifying an internal investigation six years ago, despite the statute of limitations having expired, shows a proactive move. That the questioning turned up widespread denial of the allegations is something important to have clarified at the outset.
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From: Email SUNews <sunews@SYR.EDU>
Date: November 16, 2011 9:12:07 AM EST
Subject: Message from Chancellor Cantor
Reply-To: Email SUNews sunews@SYR.EDU
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff: The recent child sexual abuse allegations at Penn State – a human tragedy that has played out on an immense public stage – remind us all of the responsibility we have, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member, or everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis – on campus or in the community – as part of our learning, scholarship, or work.
Our campus code of ethics and other guidelines call upon us to act and respond promptly in ways that create and sustain the most productive and supportive environment possible for all in our community. While we all must be vigilant to prevent instances of violence of any kind, today we want to provide clear direction regarding actual or suspected abuse or violence against our most vulnerable members of society – children.
Toward that end, here are specific actions to follow in reporting witnessed or suspected abuse involving a minor child (17 years of age or younger): 1. If you witness an instance of sexual or physical abuse against a child as it occurring, immediately call 911 to reach the Syracuse City Police, or the law enforcement department where you are located. If for some reason that is not possible, you can immediately contact SU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 315-443-2224.
2. If you have not witnessed child abuse, but suspect it may be occurring at a child’s home or in another setting, immediately contact New York State Child Protective Services at 1-800-342-3720. For more information you may visit the NYS-CPS website.
3. If you have concerns about other possible illegal, inappropriate, or questionable behavior, you may promptly report them to SU DPS at 315-443-2224. In addition, the University has two ways to report these type of concerns anonymously. DPS has a Silent Witness program, which allows individuals to report concerns about criminal activity. The University also hasEthicsPoint, a way to anonymously report other possible inappropriate activity. Safe, respectful, and caring communities do not develop by accident. They require an intentional commitment by all of us to take actions that ensure the well-being of one another. I urge each one of us to embrace that commitment, and work vigilantly to safeguard the health and safety of our entire campus community and those with whom we interact with in our extended communities.
Sincerely, Nancy Cantor