Statement from Vice President Murphy

I write to share with you information we received yesterday, Sunday, August 19, about a bias incident that occurred early Sunday morning in the Collegetown neighborhood near our campus. Let me begin by reiterating in the strongest terms that Cornell University deplores incidents such as this that tear at the fabric of respect and inclusiveness that we value so highly and work continually to maintain.

Ithaca Police reported that several of our students were victims of verbal racial and homophobic slurs, as well as physical harassment, shortly after 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning by a person not associated with the university. The defendant was taken into custody by the Ithaca Police Department, which is handling the investigation. Cornell Police remain in contact with the Ithaca Police as the investigation evolves. The defendant has been arraigned in Ithaca City Court and returns on August 29 for further legal action.

The student victims were contacted by our crisis managers from the Dean of Students office and they are receiving our full support. We will continue to support them and others who may have been affected by this incident in the days ahead.

We encourage you to remember that one individual's actions do not represent the opinions of the entire Ithaca community. Even though this disgraceful incident has occurred at a time when we are celebrating the hopeful beginning of another academic year, I want all to know that we will continue to work within our campus community, and in the Ithaca community at-large, to create a bias-free environment where all of us can feel safe, welcomed and respected. I am asking for your ongoing support in that effort.

There are many Cornell resources available for help should you need assistance. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the following:

Susan H. Murphy
Vice President Student Academic Services