Statement from President Pollack and VP Lombardi on Collegetown incident

Dear Ithaca Campus Community,

Early this morning, Ithaca and Cornell police responded to an assault in Collegetown in which racial slurs were used. The Cornell police have launched an investigation and are searching for the individual responsible. While we know very little about the details of the incident at this time, if it is found that a Cornell student is responsible, he would be accountable to the Campus Code of Conduct in addition to any criminal proceedings. Two students—the victim as well as one of the two students who came to his aid—were treated for their injuries and have since been discharged. Our staff has reached out to both of them to offer support.

We wanted to make sure you heard about this directly from us and to know that we will not simply brush this episode aside, nor will we let it deter us as we continue to strive for a more just, equitable and inclusive campus. As we stated last fall, all of us who abhor such acts must speak out against injustice, racism and bigotry. We must reach out and support each other and continue the difficult work of building a community grounded in mutual respect and kindness.

We look forward to the upcoming recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate regarding ways to implement meaningful and lasting institutional change that leads to a more loving and respectful campus climate. Those recommendations will be shared among all students, faculty and staff by the end of the semester. And we continue our work in other ways, which you can read about on the university’s diversity website.

But all of this will remain only words without a mutual resolve on all of our parts to look inside ourselves; to express empathy and compassion to one another; to embrace change; and to make a difference. That work must continue, every day, and must be done by all of us.


Martha E. Pollack

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President, Student and Campus Life

Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Cornell Health by calling 607-255-5155. Students may speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277.

Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 607-255-2673. The Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For additional resources, visit