SU professor witnesses large gathering, hopes students comply with university

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — More than a day after the large gathering on the Syracuse University quad, officials are taking action.

23 students have now received interim suspensions. Hundreds of first-year students were seen partying, not social distancing and some not wearing masks.

NewsChannel 9 spoke with Walter Freeman, a physics professor at the university. On Wednesday night he was supposed to be preparing for one of his first astronomy classes, but instead found the large gathering.

About maybe 9:30ish, students started to assemble in large numbers. There were students here when I got here, they were sitting in rings… being very respectful, being very safe, being responsible. But, starting about 9:30, as things got dark, more and more students started to trickle in and they were coming from the dorms up on the hill.

Walter Freeman — Syracuse University Professor

Soon after this, the quad was filled with students, “many hundreds” according to Freeman.

You know, the large crowd was there for maybe 30 minutes and then they started dispersing. When they started dispersing, it wasn’t a riot or anything like that, but it was a lot of students making a rapid exit and when they left, there were five or six DPS officers there.

Walter Freeman — Syracuse University Professor

The crowd may have left, but DPS said they are going to punish those students that they can identify.

First-year students Nick and Chase weren’t on the quad and were obeying the rules and they want those who weren’t following the rules to be punished.

This isn’t a joke. This is like real life, you’re playing with people’s lives. There are kids where this is the best opportunity for them to learn in a cool, safe environment and it feels like a joke if you party and throw it away like that. It feels like you’re disrespecting me, our faculty, our community and it doesn’t feel right.

Nick Testani — First-year student at Syracuse University

All eyes are on the SU campus now, and Freeman hopes that students are listening.

DPS Chief Bobby Maldonado released a statement on Thursday that said, in part:

“We have been clear about our expectations of our students from the start. We will not tolerate anyone putting the health, safety and well-being of our campus and the Syracuse community at risk.”


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