Cornell U. Announces Steps After Apparent Hate Crime

Cornell University is taking steps to “be a more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming university” after a student was hospitalized in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime, Martha E. Pollack, the university’s president, said in a written statement on Sunday.

On Friday a black student was physically assaulted and called racial slurs. One student was arrested in the incident, and several others, allegedly from a “currently unaffiliated fraternity” (Psi Upsilon), may have also been involved, according to a statement from Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life.

Black Students United, a student group at the university, quickly condemned the assault. “The aftermath of the incident on Friday serves to remind the black population at this school that we are nothing but tokens, paraded around yet never protected,” the group wrote in a statement on Facebook. The group also declared a “state of emergency,” according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

“I will not tell you ‘this is not who we are,’ as the events of the past few weeks belie that,” Ms. Pollack wrote. “But it is absolutely not who we want to be.” She announced several steps that university leadership had developed over the weekend to meet that goal.

Among those steps, the university will convene a task force examining “bigotry and intolerance” on the campus; it will direct Greek councils to develop diversity education and training programming; and it will not consider the offending fraternity’s reinstatement.

“Please speak out against injustice, racism, and bigotry, and reach out to support one another,” Ms. Pollack continued. “Ours must be a community grounded in mutual respect and kindness.”

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