Unfortunately, racial tensions seem to be growing as the days go by.
This past Friday, a black student at Cornell University was reportedly attacked by a group of white students, reports the Cornell Sun.
The student, a junior and Kappa Sigma member at the university, claimed that the white students yelled at him, "F*ck you, n*gger,’ over and over, as they were leaving."
He added that “four or five of the guys came up and started punching me in the face repeatedly,” which left him "pretty blooded up."
A 19-year-old student, John Greenwood, was arrested by Ithaca police in connection to the assault, according to an update from the Cornell Sun. Greenwood's attorney Raymond Schlather claims that his client "was in no way involved in any physical altercation of any kind."
“To be clear, the use of the n-word, and any related racist or derogatory language, is completely unacceptable not only at Cornell but anywhere in America,” Schlather continued. “My client understands this well; such language not only offends his values but does not reflect the person he is.”
Cornell has obtained video taken about an hour after the assault in which two men can be seen arguing with an unidentified student. The n-word can be heard being said by one of the men multiple times.
Cornell has also reviewed a second video featuring the same two men standing outside what has been identified as banned fraternity Psi Upsilon’s unofficial annex, the scene to which police reported following the physical assault.
Even though Psi Upsilon denies that Greenwood is or "has [ever] been" a member of the fraternity, according to the Associated Press, national Psi Upsilon leadership has decided to close its Cornell University Chapter following this racially charged incident. The fraternity has had a shaky history with the university. It was banned on campus last year for violating student codes.
The assault has led the school's Black Student United (BSU) group to declare a "state of emergency." University President Martha Pollack has mandated several initiatives with the goal of improving the campus climate, citing the “persistent problems of bigotry and intolerance at Cornell."
One of Pollack's initiatives includes asking student dean Vijay Pendakur to create a new dispute resolution process “based on restorative justice." Another directs the school's Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils to incorporate diversity training programs during spring recruitment.
BSU Executive Board members are understandably frustrated at what they feel to be an unsafe environment at the school they attend.
“Are we safe walking home from class — from the library at night?” asked BSU co-chair Delmar Fears asked.
“Are we even safe at our own Collegetown parties?” added co-chair Traciann Celestin.
In terms of the president's announced initiatives, Fears feels Cornell hasn't gone far enough. “Why did it take a black man being beat almost to a concussion for Pollack to say that we need to change?” Fears asked. “She should’ve been working on this earlier.”
“Black students are not going to slip into complacency because Martha sent a nice email,” Fears added.
Overall, BSU ideally wants the burden of addressing racial issues at the school to fall less on students; the organization is calling for school officials to "step up."