As Cornellians, we must defend and protect each other’s right to belong on this campus, our campus, despite and because of our differences. Last night’s incident is the most recent in a series of attacks to minority students on campus. It is a reflection of America and it is a reflection of Cornell.
Students should feel safe in their institution of learning, should be able to walk home without fearing for their lives, should be able to thrive in our classes without bearing the burden of trying to fix systemic, institutional, and interpersonal attacks on this campus. Students should be able to call Cornell their home.
We can say that this isn’t who we are, but what tells us otherwise? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident — minorities on this campus have faced verbal and physical assault based on differences of identity since its founding. This incident is a direct reflection of who we are as Cornellians: while the assault of a student of color is not new, neither is the intervention of others when someone is assaulted. As students, we have the power to change who Cornell is, because what is Cornell if not all of us.
We must not wait until other students become victim to identity charged incidents to take action. Last night’s incident makes the work of the University Assembly’s Codes and Judicial Committee Working Group on Hate Speech and Harassment and the Presidential Task Force more pertinent than ever.
The Student Assembly calls on the Presidential Task Force, with a representative from each committee, to share an update at our upcoming meeting. In addition, we request that the Working Group on Hate Speech and Harassment make a presentation to the Student Assembly and share their updates regarding changes to the Campus Code of Conduct language.