Bias Incidents Affecting Our Community

By President La Jerne Terry Cornish, December 9, 2023
A message from President La Jerne Terry Cornish to the Ithaca College community.

Dear Ithaca College Community:

I am deeply disappointed and disturbed to write that Thursday night as members of our community were celebrating Hanukkah, a swastika was found drawn in the snow on the rock wall outside the Terrace 3 residence hall.

We absolutely denounce this ignorant and hateful act of antisemitism. Acts of hatred have no place on our campus, and we must join together to condemn them and reaffirm that Ithaca College must remain a safe space for every member of our community. Our Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students have also experienced multiple bias incidents in recent weeks.

We must work together to ensure that all members of our campus community can live, learn, worship and celebrate in an environment in which they feel safe and secure.

As a community, we must be allies to our fellow members by remaining vigilant against evil and by condemning it every time we see it whether it is antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of bigotry. We should also remember the values that brought us together in the first place. We are a community of care and a community of learning. As such, hatred and ignorance must be driven out and replaced by respect, fellowship, mutual understanding and a desire to learn about and from one another. 

I am traveling this week and was disappointed not to be able to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on campus or Friday night’s Hanukkah Shabbat Celebrations with Hillel, which will go on as planned. The shining lights of Hanukkah will not be diminished or darkened, and we want everyone celebrating to feel safe and secure. We assure you that Public Safety officers will be at and around Muller Chapel tonight and throughout the holidays. I do look forward to supporting and celebrating in person at the lighting on Tuesday, and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Melanie Stein will be attending Friday night. 

We also promise an investigation that seeks justice and accountability. Anyone who experiences or witnesses an incidence of bias, intimidation or hatred on campus or virtually should call the Office of Public Safety at (607) 274-3333 or file a Bias Impact Report. We ask anyone who might have information on this incident to please contact Public Safety.

IC’s Hillel staff are available and executive director Lauren Goldberg can be reached at 240-401-2590 via call or text, and Chabad can be reached at and 347-915-3145. 

Ithaca College’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services can be reached at any time, including the After Hours On-Call Services, by calling 607-274-3136.  

We face these challenges as a community, and we will overcome them as a community.

With continued care and concern, 

La Jerne Terry Cornish