Cornell University’s President, Martha E. Pollack, is leading the ivy league school into a period of soul searching after a racist attack.
“This is not who we are,” Pollack said in a statement, as she announced that the university would soon launch a presidential task force that’s “charged with examining and addressing persistent problems of bigotry and intolerance at Cornell.”
This comes on the heels of the Ithaca (New York) police arresting a White Cornell student on Friday, who is suspected of being one of several White students who beat up a Black student in a racist attack, the Cornell Daily Sun reported.
Cornell’s Black Students United said in a Facebook statement that the incident is a reminder that the university’s Black students are “nothing but tokens, paraded around yet never protected.”
The statement continued: “What occurred was not only assault, but also theft— a young, hopeful Black man was robbed of his dignity, safety, and identity.”
According to The Daily Sun, the victim, who spoke to the news outlet on the condition of anonymity from a Cayuga Medical Center, tried to break up a fight, around 1 a.m. on Friday ,in the front yard of a students’ residence involving a friend and at least four White men who did not live there.
The White men shouted expletives and racial slurs at him: “F— you, ni**er, over and over, as they were leaving,” the junior recalled them say, as they punched him in the face.
Another Black student told The Daily Sun that one of the White students called him racial slur about one hour after the first attack. A video obtained by the news outlet shows two of the White students taunting a third Black student that night, calling that victim “a sand-ni**er.”
Ithaca Police Lt. John Joly said in a press release that officers arrested one person and charged that individual with one count of assault in the third degree. A hate crimes investigation is ongoing.