Department of Public Safety Investigating Reported Bias Incident at Watson Hall

On Sunday, March 5, a Watson Hall resident reported overhearing the use of a homophobic/anti-LGBTQ+ slur. The incident reportedly occurred on Saturday, March 4 around 1:30 a.m. on the third floor. The resident reported observing a handful of students heading toward a room when one (or more) of the students used the slur twice. Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) is now actively investigating this report and asks anyone in Watson Hall with knowledge of this event to reach out to DPS or the Dean of Students Office.

Upon receiving this report, DPS officers met with the reporting party in Watson Hall. Officers have also conducted interviews with several individuals believed to be in the area at the time of incident. DPS officers have conducted multiple canvasses of the floor in search of other witnesses. Additional canvasses and interviews will be conducted. Furthermore, review of available video footage is ongoing. DPS has notified the Syracuse Police Department and New York State Police.

“Creating an inclusive, welcoming and respectful community is the responsibility of every student, faculty, staff member and administrator. Homophobic/anti-LGBTQ+ language should not be tolerated by any of us which is why I am so grateful that the resident who witnessed it spoke up and reported it,” says Craig Stone, DPS chief and associate vice president. “While we are doing everything we can to advance this investigation, it is especially critical that the individual or individuals responsible or any witness come forward. Incidents like this, where hateful language is used verbally in a crowded space, can often be difficult to solve without additional witness accounts, or better yet, a confession.”

Anyone with information about this incident should contact DPS at 315.443.2224. Anonymous tips can be reported to DPS through the Silent Witness tool or the Orange Safe mobile app. Additionally, if you or someone you know has been affected by a bias incident, the following resources are available: