Letters to the Editor

Remembrance, Lockerbie Scholars condemn closing of Cold Case Justice Initiative

As Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars, we aim to act forward in the memory of the lives lost aboard Pan Am Flight 103 and in Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, lives that were taken unjustly and prematurely. The purpose of the Remembrance Scholarship is to promote a better future for our campus characterized by community-building, service, healing and education in remembrance of the 35 Syracuse University students and 11 Lockerbie residents who died that day.

Therefore, we were dismayed to learn of the decision by the College of Law Dean Craig Boise and Chancellor Kent Syverud to terminate the Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) at Syracuse University. CCJI is a unique and important program that reopens cases of racist violence from the civil rights era and investigates unsolved crimes. Their goals include identifying victims, advocating for and bringing closure to families of victims, prosecuting perpetrators, drafting legislation, involvement in recent cases and more. CCJI led a coalition of civil rights organizations to help renew the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act, which requires the Department of Justice to thoroughly investigate cases of civil rights era crime and was scheduled to expire in 2017. While CCJI has celebrated success in their work, they consider it to be unfinished, and we support their continued existence on this campus and beyond.

The Daily Orange’s recent editorial spoke to the lack of transparency involved in the decision making. We cannot in good conscience support such a decision to terminate a program that focuses on racial and social justice; as Remembrance Scholars we understand how valuable and integral CCJI is to students’ educational interests and the mission of higher/professional education. We urge the College of Law dean and the chancellor to work with CCJI on solutions for continuation and not termination.

To quote directly from writing by CCJI directors Paula Johnson and Janis McDonald, “The need to redress racially-motivated crimes is more urgent than ever. The current political climate and policies have become more hateful and have resulted in great increases in racially-motivated crimes, anti-Semitic violence, and violence against immigrants, Muslims, women and LGBTQ communities.”

We look back to the lives of the victims of Pan Am 103 and the lives of victims of racist violence in the United States, and act forward in their memory to call for the continuation of CCJI.

Signed,

Farrell Greenwald Brenner, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Nedda Sarshar, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Joyce LaLonde, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Andrew Ramos, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Shona Beattie, 2016-2017 Lockerbie Scholar

Clayton Baker, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Genevieve Pilch, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Sian McLaughlin, 2016-2017 Lockerbie Scholar

Alexis Rinck, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Malik Evans, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Patty Terhune, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Ilana Siegal, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Jourdann Borski, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Kimberly Juarez, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Katherine Barymow, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Emily Dang, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Emily Lindberg, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Ryan Gibson, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

Charlotte Balogh, 2016-2017 Remembrance Scholar

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