Statement on recent national events

Dear Cornell Community,

Last week our nation was once again witness to terrible acts of hatred: bombs were sent to several prominent political and media figures; a white supremacist shooting in a Kentucky grocery store left two African Americans dead; and 11 people were killed, and more injured, in a violent act of anti-Semitism in a Pittsburgh synagogue during Sabbath services.

Acts of terror in distant places reverberate through social networks to affect us all. The incident in Pittsburgh took place at a house of worship near where my own family once lived, a heartbreaking reminder of how interconnected we all are.

In all three cases, the victims were targeted for what they believe and for who they are. As we mourn the dead and injured and confront the brutality of the crimes, individual members of our community are experiencing shock, anger, fear and sadness. We need to support one another and, within our Cornell community, act with extra kindness and care.

If you feel overwhelmed, please know that our counseling services stand ready to help you.

Students from Cornell Hillel and the Roitman Chabad Center at Cornell University will hold a community-wide vigil today at 4:30 p.m. on Ho Plaza, a chance for our community to come together in mourning and to unite against hatred and violence.

As I have said in the past during other times of trouble, I ask you to reach out today to someone else in the community and ask how they’re doing, express your concern and offer your support. And at all times, speak out against white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and all forms of bigotry. Let it be known that Cornell stands for their very opposite: for respect, dignity, inclusion, and love.


Martha E. Pollack