Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Welcome back to Syracuse University. And to those newly joining us, welcome to the Orange family. It is so good to be together again. After a long summer for all of us, it has been a joy to see our new students arriving in phases over these last few weeks. There is nothing better than seeing our community back on campus together, engaging with each other and living the Orange experience. And for those students studying remotely or from afar, you are as much a part of our Orange family as ever.
A lot has happened in the world since we were all together last. The pandemic has taken a horrible toll on lives, families, communities and our country. While a source of stress for all of us, many of you have felt this pain in deeply personal ways. At the same time, there are renewed calls for justice, equity and to end anti-Black racism and hate in all its forms. This should give us all hope.
Just as the last few months have been unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime, so too, will be this fall semester. As we return to our studies, research and academic pursuits, I want to thank everyone who has played a role in bringing us together again. There are many changes we have made to our campus. Some you see: signs everywhere reminding you to social distance and wear a face mask, outdoor classrooms, and over a thousand hand sanitizer stations in our buildings. Other things aren’t visible to the eye: the new air filtration systems in our buildings, the countless hours faculty have dedicated to reformatting their classes, and the time spent by staff to get our campus ready.
We’re together because we want our students to have the best possible experience at Syracuse University. And we want to remain together for the entire semester. That will require all of us to be responsible for ourselves and each other in doing everything we can to create a safe environment. That means wearing a mask wherever you go, practicing social distancing, and not congregating in large groups on or off campus. I know it’s not what we are accustomed to. But nothing is business as usual these days.
Being together means living, learning and working with people who hail from diverse and unique backgrounds. It is one of the things that makes our university such a special place. Let’s extend grace to one another as we make new friends, open ourselves to understanding the experiences of others, and treat our community with kindness. We are a community that is inclusive, equitable and welcoming. What is unwelcome here must be racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice, bias or harassment of any kind. We are an anti-racist campus, and our actions must follow those principles. And it starts with all of us.
As we begin this semester together, let’s enjoy this moment that we have all been working toward and waiting for all summer. We are happy you are with us, wherever you are. And let’s commit to those things that will allow us to stay together for the semester: wear your mask, keep your distance, and look out for yourself and for each other. Here’s to our new academic year.
Kent Syverud, Chancellor and President