Looking Back on the Syracuse University Academic Hall Occupation of 2014

Photography by George Payne

 

Nearly two years ago almost 50 Syracuse University students peacefully occupied the basement floor of Crouse- Hinds Hall. THE General Body (as they referred to themselves) wanted a University that is more participatory, diverse, accessible, equitable, and transparent. It was an immensely successful act of civil disobedience. Not only did it garner regional and national attention, it helped reform one of the most influential institutions in New York State.

Besides the practical and institutional difference this action made on the social and political landscape of SU, I was generally inspired by these students. We live in an age when obedience to conventionality comes far too naturally for most young people. It was refreshing to see them expressing their collective power and standing up for the rights of the most vulnerable on campus. It reminded me of one of Gandhi’s sayings, “Actions express priorities”.

Editorial at the time from Syracuse.com

 

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