On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Cornell University is investigating the beating of black student as a possible hate crime, citing the university’s pledge to form a task force addressing “bigotry and intolerance.”
Authorities in Ithaca, New York are investigating the attack, which occurred Friday morning, as a hate crime, according to The Cornell Daily Sun. Ithaca police said in a press conference that the department is reviewing all aspects of the complaint, “including any racially biased motivation.” The suspected assailant—a 19-year-old white Cornell student named John Greenwood, according to authorities—was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, but has yet to be charged with a hate crime.
The victim, a junior at Cornell, told The Sun that he arrived home around 1 a.m. on Friday to find a group of four or five white men who don’t live at his residence, shoving his friends, at which point he asked them to leave. The group of men shouted racial slurs at the student, then punched him in the face repeatedly when he continued to confront them verbally.
Cornell’s vice president for student and campus life, Ryan Lombardi, affirmed on Friday that other students, aside from the one currently charged, were involved in the attack and that all were “allegedly from a currently unaffiliated fraternity.” The name of the fraternity was not released, but a day after the attack was reported the words “You Racist Fucks” appeared in spray-paint on the wall of Psi Upsilon’s fraternity house.
The New York Times reported on Monday that earlier this month a student went up to a Latino Living Center on campus and spewed some crap about “building a wall” loudly and persistently, prompting Lombardi to send an email to students about the incident, which read in part that he was, “concerned by what is a continued pattern of the marginalization of many members of the Cornell community.”