KavaNope: Syracuse Student Voices in Action

By: Hayden Ginder –

At noon on Oct. 4, over 100 students and faculty marched to the front of Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. Sarah Epelman, a senior at Syracuse majoring in Political Science and Policy Studies with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and Clark Bermudez, a senior Environmental Studies major at ESF, are two of the students who helped organize the walkout.

Epelman and Bermudez felt empowered to help organize this walkout due to the national call to action in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings.

“We felt it was our opportunity to bring out even more people, and, to help cancel Kavanaugh altogether,” Bermudez says.  “We wanted to highlight the issue of rape culture at all levels of society, both in the Supreme Court and on our own campus.”

This walkout stood for more than Kavanaugh’s confirmation alone; it also acted as a rally for ridding of the rape culture prevalent on SU campus.

“We also wanted to point this walkout at the SU administration, to highlight the issue of rape culture on campus and the residual hate that lingers from the Theta Tau incident,” Epelman says. “The school wants us to forget and ignore but we refuse.”

Hundreds of students who participated in the walkout were angry about Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Even so, the large turnout at the walkout and overwhelming amount of support made Epelman and Bermudez feel hopeful about the future.

“There is a movement happening beyond #MeToo and it is gaining momentum. It’s not just a political change but also a culture shift,” Epelman says. “So, while everything is looking down right now, we need people to keep looking forward and see the potential in the future for change.”

Students like Epelman and Bermudez hope that everyone who engaged in the walkout felt empowered and inspired to help make a difference.

“There are few things more therapeutic than being surrounded by people who are just as dedicated to changing the world as you are. When I feel overwhelmed, or defeated, by the situation, I can think about the people on this campus, and all around the country, who are equally committed to creating a better world. It’s a reminder that, despite the losses we may face along the way, we are unstoppable,” Bermudez says.