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Contributed by Thomas Rochon on 05/02/2013
I want in this message to address the campus community regarding hateful messages that were left recently on a residence hall room door, and the college’s response to those messages.
Most importantly, I want to state clearly that such offensive language and symbols have no place whatsoever on a college campus or in any community that places a value on respectful treatment of all members. Incidents such as this one make us feel unwelcomed and unsafe in our own community. Whether the cause was bigotry, ignorance, or insensitivity does not matter; all are contrary to what we stand for as an educational institution.
I was made aware of this incident by the Office of Public Safety, and I understand why making details public at the time could have compromised their efforts to identify the perpetrator(s). There are also federal laws regarding student privacy that prevent us from releasing certain information about cases that might be referred through the campus judicial process.
Additionally, there are very specific legal elements under which a crime can be categorized as a “hate crime.” That determination cannot be made until the investigation is concluded.
In following the letter of the law, however, I don’t want us to miss the spirit behind it. The Office of Public Safety is aggressively pursuing their investigation of this completely unacceptable behavior. I ask for your patience as the investigation proceeds.
I also ask that anyone who might have information about this incident or any similar incidents to please report it to the Office of Public Safety by calling 607-274-3333, or by leaving an anonymous voice mail message at 607-274-1060.
It is only as a community working together toward a common purpose that we can hope to eliminate prejudice and disrespect. I have faith that the Ithaca College community can and will continue to work together to attain that worthy goal.