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 don’t know the author. We don’t know what the intent of it was. It’s a very disturbing document if you read it,” Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said at a news conference with campus and state police and the FBI.
Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado said, based on a preliminary investigation, there appeared to be no direct threat.
“We know that this is an unsettled time and our community is anxious,” he said, adding that students and the campus are safe.
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.
The Board of Trustees responded with a statement supporting Syverud and praising his response to the student concerns.
“This is a deeply painful and unsettling time for our students and our whole Orange community. We have been attacked — from inside our home and from the outside world,” Board of Trustees Chairwoman Kathy Walters said. “While it’s easy to spread words of hatred, Chancellor Syverud has been relentlessly focused on the safety of our community, and the well-being of our students, driving action and effecting real change on our campus.”