Last Sunday, a group of Cornell's Sigma Pi fraternity brothers and alumni gathered on the roof to drink beers and enjoy the springtime weather. And how did the Ivy Leaguers wile away the day? By throwing beer and liquor bottles at a group of black students, and reportedly yelling "Come up here, Trayvon" and other racial slurs after one asked them to stop. Man, even just typing that out makes me feel all disgusting and depressed about humanity.
Sigma Pi's president said the fraternity was "sorry the incident happened on our premises" and that he was "shocked" to hear about it. Later, the house issued a statement saying that the attacker was a Sigma Pi brother from another house at a different, unnamed university. (Alumni also released a statement calling the incident "deeply disturbing and totally unacceptable.") Sigma Pi also said that they know who's responsible for the beyond horrible "Trayvon" reference and have turned his name over to police. Even so, Cornell has temporarily suspended the off-campus fraternity pending a further investigation.
Should the entire fraternity be disbanded for the actions of one brother who doesn't even attend Cornell? Probably not. But it's just so incredibly dispiriting that, while you might expect to hear Trayvon jokes at, say, a KKK rally, even students at one of the top institutions of higher learning in the country aren't safe from being physically and verbally attacked for being themselves.
"I think the most shocking thing was not that bottles were being thrown but that they were shouting Trayvon," Sade Samakinwa, one of the students who witnessed the fiasco, told the Cornell Daily Sun. "To use that boy's name so disrespectfully while disrespecting someone is absolutely insane." We doubt Sigma Pi's apology made her feel that much better about what happened, or about society in general.