Student sit-in resulting in "unexpected expenses" for Syracuse University

Nov 20, 2014

The costs and overtime hours are starting to add up for Syracuse University as a student sit-in protest nears the end of its third week.

The university's public safety department has had to station multiple officers in Crouse-Hinds Hall, the school's administration building, around the clock since Nov. 3. They're keeping an eye on the dozen or so students living there as part of a protest against the administration of chancellor Kent Syverud.

Public safety has accrued about 2,200 hours of overtime during the 16 day sit-in.

Based on an extrapolation of a week-old figure from the university, public safety officers have racked up about 2,200 hours of overtime in the past 16 days. The university would not provide exact figures or amounts to WRVO, only to say the sit-in has cost "tens of thousands of dollars university wide." 

"It's an unexpected expense," said University College Dean Bea Gonzalez, who has been involved in negotiations with the student protestors.

With so much overtime accrued by the Department of Public Safety, that likely makes up the bulk of the expense.

"We have had DPS officers there 24/7," Gonzalez said. "We’ve had to ensure that there are female officers there, especially in the evenings and at night time, so DPS has had to change their own routines in order to accommodate the safety needs of these students."

There have also been daily fire safety inspections and added work for maintenance staff to keep the space clean. There haven't been any instances of damage or disturbances, according to Gonzalez.

Find all of WRVO's coverage of the student sit-in at Syracuse University

Danielle Reed, a student protester, at a rally last week.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As many as 40 students and as few as 11 have been living on the ground floor of the building since the protest began.

"It's been interesting accommodating their needs," she said.

Students upset over the university's closure of an advocacy center for sexual assault formed THE General Body student group earlier this fall. They've since developed a lengthy list of grievances with the the college over administrative transparency and student support services. 

Chancellor Kent Syverud and other administrators met several times with the students in the early days of the protest. Those talks resulted in several concessions from the school and even an apology from Syverud. 

The chancellor has since called for the protest to end, saying it's time to move on, though the sit-in continues. The students say the visibility is their only means of pressing for more response to their demands.

It seems to have worked. Gonzalez will meet with the students Thursday afternoon, the first such meeting in a week, according to THE General Body.