Gathering to Grieve and Support One Another

By Tom Rochon, August 29, 2016

Gathering to Grieve and Support One Another

Our Ithaca College community is still reeling from the violent homicide that occurred early Sunday morning on the Cornell University campus that stole the life of our student Anthony Nazaire ’19, injured another student, and left a great many others shaken, sorrowed, and angered. 

During this painful time, I ask that all of our students, faculty members, and staff take an extra moment to check in with one another. Our entire community — on and off campus — is diminished by Anthony’s killing, whether we knew him personally or not. Especially in these coming days and weeks, we must be here for one another as we grapple with this loss and our own reactions to the violence that took place. I implore you to offer a kind word, simply inquire about each other’s well being, or share a caring embrace. 

Campus Gathering: Monday August 29

I strongly encourage everyone to attend the gathering taking place today, August 29, at 4 p.m. in the Muller Chapel. Professional staff, counselors, and chaplains will be present at the event. Even if you didn’t know Anthony or the other student injured, your presence can be a great help to others in our community as we mourn the loss of this spirited young man and support one another in grief.   

Students who normally have class at that hour are invited to inform their instructor of their absence from class if they wish to attend the gathering. Faculty have been asked to provide flexibility to all students who choose to attend. 

Due to the widespread publicity about Anthony’s death, there will likely be reporters at the event. They will not be permitted inside the Chapel, and the college will be asking them to respect any community member’s desires not to be interviewed.

Safety on Campus

I have received some questions about whether students should be concerned for their safety. I want to remind everyone that we have no information at this time that leads us to believe there is an immediate or ongoing threat to anyone on our campus. Out of an excess of caution, we have increased the patrols of our campus police and increased the visibility of our officers. If any members of our campus community have concerns about their safety, they are encouraged to contact the Office of Public Safety at 607-274-3333. 

I want to reassure everyone, especially our new students, that violent crime of any type is extraordinarily unusual on our campuses and in the local community. For many in our community, the fact that Ithaca is typically such a safe place has made this event that much harder to come to terms with. It is not who we are and it is not who we are willing to become.

You can learn more about the services in place at the college for keeping our community safe, and also view our annual crime statistics, on the Public Safety website.

Support on Campus 

The college is continuing to proactively reach out to those who might need counseling assistance. Additionally, students who feel they need mental health support can contact the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at 607-274-3136.

Faculty and staff can speak to a counselor through the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-327-2255.

Ongoing Investigation:  Need for Witnesses and Information

The City of Ithaca Police Department (IPD), with help from other law enforcement agencies, including the Ithaca College Office of Public Safety and the Cornell University Police Department, is still actively investigating the fight and the stabbing, which occurred on the Cornell campus early Sunday morning. The perpetrator or perpetrators have still not been identified.

Many witnesses to the fight have already come forward with information, but IPD is still in urgent need of more tips, photos, or video footage. Reports can be made to the IPD completely anonymously, and I implore anyone who knows anything to share it. The anonymous tipline is 607-697-0333.

Any additional updates on the investigation or information about additional support on campus will be available on the Ithaca College website.

I hope to see you all later today at the gathering.

Tom Rochon