Living Our Values as a Community of Care

By President La Jerne Terry Cornish, March 30, 2023

A message from President La Jerne Terry Cornish

Dear Ithaca College Community:

The President’s Cabinet and I are committed to sustaining Ithaca College’s dedication to creating an environment where students, faculty, and staff can flourish as their authentic selves.

Respect and accountability continue to be core values of our thriving community on South Hill. And to sustain this community, we must live our values, not simply list them.

It is up to all of us to demonstrate practices that foster belonging, shared responsibility, collaboration, innovation, and achievement. That is why I am reaching out to you today to acknowledge and affirm the painful issues around racism that students of color have raised at the college in recent weeks.

I have read the testimonials that IC Rise Up has posted across campus, and I have encouraged others to do so as well. These statements, and those that were made at the two classroom walkouts organized by IC Rise Up, tell us that many of our students have experienced racist words, behaviors, and actions during their time on our campus. While we know that such experiences can happen at any time, in any place, and are all too common in our society, racist words, behaviors, and actions go completely against our values as a college and as a community and must be condemned.

We invite students to attend a listening session scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. in Emerson Suite B, at which we want to hear about all aspects of your Ithaca College experience, and we will be holding more listening sessions in April and May. We will also be conducting a new Campus Climate Survey in the fall, which will help give us a better understanding of the most pressing concerns of our community.

The President’s Cabinet and I continue to dedicate ourselves to addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. It is our hope that the recently announced Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging will provide an improved organizational structure and much needed resources and support for this work.

To all of our students: Please know that I see you. I hear you. I care. And I am ready to work with you to create a more positive living and learning experience at Ithaca College.


La Jerne Terry Cornish