Fine Investigation

The sun sets behind the Syracuse University campus at dusk Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth)

For the second time in a week, racist messages were found in a building on the Syracuse University campus. 

The Daily Orange reported racist graffiti targeting Asians was found inside a bathroom in the Physics Building. The bathroom is across from Stolkin Auditorium, according to the student newspaper. 

The graffiti was reported to the school's Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the incident. 

The latest message was found as students continue to protest inside the Barnes Center at The Arch. The sit-in began Wednesday and continued Thursday. 

Students began their protest after racist graffiti was found inside Day Hall, a residence building on the Syracuse University campus. The messages targeting African Americans and Asians were found inside a bathroom and on a bulletin board. 

Syracuse University officials said the Department of Public Safety is partnering with the Syracuse Police Department to determine who wrote the hateful messages. Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the New York State Police's Hate Crimes Task Force and the state Division of Human Rights to assist with the inquiry. 

Cuomo issued a statement Thursday announcing the state agencies will work with local authorities to investigate the latest racist messages. 

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"This abhorrent language is part of the growing cancer of hate and anger that is spreading across our country, and at this divisive time in our history New York must be different," Cuomo said. "When you attack one of us, you attack us all — and we will continue to stand up and condemn hate whenever it rears its ugly head." 

There has been criticism of how quickly the university responded to the initial report of racist graffiti in Day Hall. The messages were reported to the Department of Public Safety on Thursday, Nov. 7. It wasn't publicized until Monday. 

Students participating in the sit-in presented a list of recommendations to Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud, In a message to the campus Wednesday, Syverud said he's requested "prompt implementation" of a new bias incident reporting protocol. 

"It is vital that we simultaneously prioritize caring for students directly impacted, communicating in a timely manner to the campus community and swiftly investigating the incident," Syverud wrote. He added that Marianne Thomson, dean of students, Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado and Keith Alford, chief diversity and inclusion officer, will finalize the protocol next week. 

The school will also examine whether to change the student code of conduct to address bias-related incidents, according to Syverud. 

Syverud's message was released before it was reported that more racist graffiti was found in a university building. 

"I remain deeply concerned about what happened at Day Hall and the campus climate issues I have been discussing with students," he said. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.