Syracuse University

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Student Protests

SU has always been a place where society's most pressing issues are discussed "head on."

Syracuse University has always been a place where society’s most pressing issues were discussed “head on.” During the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, SU students were vocal in their opposition to the conflict in Southeast Asia. When four Kent State students were killed and nine others wounded by Ohio National Guard troops, SU was among the 400 educational institutions nationwide shut down by students. The protest included a peaceful march through downtown Syracuse, a sit-in at the Tolley Administration Building, and students barricading entrances to campus.

The civil rights movement also had an impact on campus. In 1970, a group of African American Syracuse University football team members, known as the "Syracuse 8," called for the equal treatment of student-athletes and a more racially diverse coaching staff. Talented scholarship athletes, these men were aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but despite the risk, took a stand. When their calls for action were not honored, they made the difficult decision to leave the team.

Mistakenly dubbed the "Syracuse 8" by media reports in 1970, the group actually included nine individuals—Gregory Allen '72, Richard Bulls '73, John Godbolt '73, Dana Harrell '71, G’73, John Lobon '73, Clarence "Bucky" McGill '72, A. Alif Muhammad '71, Duane Walker '80, and Ron Womack '71.

The group was awarded the SU Chancellor’s Medal in 2006 and presented with their SU Letterman’s jackets—which they never received after leaving the team—during an emotional halftime ceremony at the Syracuse-Louisville football game.