White supremacist manifesto reportedly shared at Syracuse U

November 19, 2019 - 6:18 pm

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A white supremacist manifesto that appeared to be a copy of one linked to a man accused of attacking two mosques in New Zealand was circulated electronically at Syracuse University, campus law enforcement said Tuesday, adding to a string of racist episodes that have shaken the upstate New York campus.

Federal Investigators and local authorities were working to determine the origin of the document after receiving reports that it was posted in an online forum and that attempts were made to send it to the cellphones of students at a campus library Monday night via AirDrop, a file-sharing service that allows iPhone users to send pictures or files to other iPhones or iPads near them when devices are within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range of each other.

Officials said the manifesto appeared to be copied from one written by the man accused of killing 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand in March.

“We know that this is an unsettled time and our community is anxious, but ... there’s no direct threat. Our students are safe. Our campus is safe,” Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado said at a news conference with local, state police and the FBI.

He said officers would increase patrols and their presence on campus.

Authorities have fielded about 10 reports of racist vandalism, graffiti and shouted slurs targeting Jews, Asians and black students at the private university since Nov. 7.

Students have staged a sit-in at the student wellness center since Nov. 13 with a list of demands that includes the expulsion of students for hate crimes and stronger diversity training for students and staff. The university’s international students also have listed concerns.

Chancellor Kent Syverud on Tuesday said the university would commit more than $1 million toward responses identified as priorities, including student safety, clarifying the code of conduct, making curriculum changes and hiring staff.

“As we undertake this important work, we face real challenges here and we operate in a fraught national climate,” he said in a statement.

Syverud on Sunday suspended one fraternity along with social events for the others after a black student complained she was verbally harassed as she walked by a group of people identified as fraternity members and their guests the night before.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called on the university’s board of trustees to hire an independent monitor to investigate the racism.

“Despite his efforts, I do not believe Chancellor Syverud has handled this matter in a way that instills confidence,” Cuomo said.

When asked at the news conference about the governor’s assessment, Maldonado disagreed.

Syverud “is committed to not only making sure that there’s calm in the community but getting to the bottom of this,” he said.

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