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Syracuse University investigating 'reckless and incendiary' statements

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Jessica Cain

Syracuse University officials announced they are investigating "reckless and incendiary" statements made by a speaker during what the university said was an otherwise peaceful demonstration on campus Thursday.

"We have learned that one of the speakers specifically called out a number of Jewish student organizations by name, accusing them of being 'complicit' in genocide," Vice Chancellor Gretchen Ritter and Senior Vice President Allen Groves said in a message to campus.

University leadership said the behavior is "reprehensible" and put a group of students at risk of retaliation, harassment and potential violence. They said they are not aware of any current threats.

"We are investigating the statements and working to identify the speaker," Ritter and Groves said. "Any conduct found to be in violation of university policies will be met with the appropriate disciplinary action. In addition, the university has already received multiple bias complaints and will promptly investigate all reports through established University processes."

Syracuse University officials said they are increasing the presence and patrols of the Department of Public Safety personnel and are in touch with law enforcement agencies and the FBI to monitor for any specific threats.

"While Syracuse University remains strongly committed to protecting free speech and academic freedom, we must respond when conduct, language or action directly threatens the safety of our students," the university leadership said.

CitrusTV reported demonstrators outside of the Maxwell School chanted "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon condemned the chant on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying "this ignorant rhetoric is not acceptable in Onondaga County.

Republican Congressman Brandon Williams, whose district covers Syracuse University also condemned the language.

"This type of incendiary, repulsive, and anti-Semitic language should NEVER be spoken, especially in CNY," Williams said on X. "These chants call for the annihilation of Israel and anyone who refuses to call them out for this behavior is complicit."

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.