September 11, 2016

Cornellians Gather To Heal After Campus Tragedies

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Approximately 100 Cornellians gathered to discuss the recent tragedies both across the nation and closer to home at a dinner and presentation entitled “Finding Well-Being in the Face of Tragedy” on Friday.

The event aimed to unite the campus after a summer and early semester of tragic events — which included the stabbing of Ithaca College sophomore Anthony Nazaire on Cornell’s campus and the death of Darryl Wu ’18 in his Collegetown apartment — according to Yamini Bhandari ’17, student-elected trustee.

Ulysses Smith ’14, department of inclusion and workforce diversity strategies lead, spoke about the process of understanding and coping with the disparate responses to trauma. He also addressed how to be an ally to community members severely impacted by recent tragedies.

“We need to make sure that we create spaces to talk about the social issues that are going on,” Smith said.

Broadening to a national focus, Angela Winfield, director of inclusion and workforce diversity, explained the origins of the “hashtag movements” such as #blacklivesmatter, #bluelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter.

“People come to these words with their own lenses and their own interpretations, and so they hear these [hashtags] and have an initial response to what they mean,” Winfield said.

Bhandari said we as a generation need to “define what the role of social media is in our lives.”

“The way that we receive news now is through our news feed, so we’re receiving news about a wedding engagement in addition to horrific and sometimes traumatic events that are happening,” she said. “Is [social media] a purely social thing or is it a social justice [platform]?”

Bhandari added that a tone of self-care separated this event from others in the past. Joseph Kidane ’17, ALANA vice president of programming, said these spaces for self-care are fundamental to the well-being of the campus.

“There is a new freshman class that is experiencing these tragedies, and given the difficulties of a first semester at Cornell, I think it’s very important that ALANA as well as other organizations on campus provide outlets for these students so that they can maintain a good mental health,” Kidane said.

Jordan Berger ’17, Student Assembly president, added that it is important to “examine our resources available to help people heal on an individual basis.”

Matthew Indimine ’18, S.A. executive vice president, said the event “provided a safe space to discuss individual experiences in coping with tragedies, and allowed for affirmation and validation of feelings while learning from others’ perspectives.”

Related events also will be available in the future, including a campus-wide “Breaking Bread” dinner to discuss community and police relations on Sept. 21, according to Smith.

  • Steve

    100 is a very small number. Irrelevant actually. How about pressuring for the crime to be solved so that a killer lurking among a campus of over 17,000 is caught?

  • Concerned alumnus

    The article is noteworthy in quoting a number of important campus leaders, none of whom urged students to cooperate with the capture of the killer. Nor did they address what policies should be changed to prevent future stabbings at Orientation Week programs. We need to create safe-spaces on campus that are knife-fight free.

  • Want info

    Another “feel good” article about the recent tragedies where a handful(( in comparison to the student body) can discuss things in a “safe space”. How about an article discussing some movement in the murder case? How about Ithaca and Cornell combining resources and offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer? FYI- we are not interested nor buying the content of these articles–WE WANT MORE DONE IN SOLVING THIS CASE!. Safe spaces will be safer when this svumbag thug is caught and brought to justice!!!

  • Concerned Alum

    The apathy related to this is staggering. A student was MURDERED on our campus! No one seems to care about solving this crime. Compare this apathy to the faux outrage next time someone commits a microaggression. Murder is a macroaggression.