The Latino Living Center is located in Anna Comstock Hall at 520 Thurston avenue.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

The Latino Living Center is located in Anna Comstock Hall at 520 Thurston avenue.

September 7, 2017

Fraternity Member Allegedly Chants ‘Build a Wall’ Near Latino Living Center

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This post has been updated.

A member of a fraternity allegedly chanted “build a wall” near the Latino Living Center early Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump ordered the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

A resident of the LLC heard the chant and then later heard “Let’s build a wall around the LLC,” coming from the Zeta Psi fraternity house, which is next to the LLC, according to a statement from La Associación Latina on Facebook.

Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi confirmed the incident in an email sent out to Cornell students Thursday morning. The email said that an individual has accepted responsibility. However Lombardi added that although he recognizes “rights of open expression,” he is concerned about a “pattern of the marginalization of many members of the Cornell community.”

Zeta Psi National apologized to the LLC and the member has apologized in writing to the leadership of the LLC, the fraternity said in a statement to The Sun.

“It’s disappointing that the disparaging comment was made in the first place,” the statement read. “It’s also unfortunate that
the hurtful statement wasn’t confronted directly at the time of the incident between the students
involved — because that’s the civil conversation that needs to happen.”

The statement from LAL made several demands not only to the Zeta Psi fraternity, but also to the larger Greek community and the Cornell administration.

It demanded that Zeta Psi hold their members involved accountable, that they issue a formal apology, that they accept sanctions and that they undergo diversity training.

LAL also demanded that all Greek-life organizations acknowledge that the incident “is not an individual fraternity problem, but an issue deeply ingrained within the current culture, and take active steps to ameliorate that.”

It issued a similar demand to the Cornell administration, urging them to acknowledge that “this is absolutely not an isolated incident,” and called on the administration, Zeta Psi and the Greek Tri Council to take steps within the next two weeks to come up with a plan to address the demands.

The presidents of the Greek Tri Council — Caitlin Gleason ’18, Brianna Barrett ’18 and Drew Lord ’18 — condemned the incident in a statement.

“The Tri-Council does not, and will not, tolerate any form of hate, bias, or discrimination in our community, on Cornell’s campus, or beyond,” they said. “We are committed to our principles of diversity and inclusion, and creating and fostering cultures that reject hateful actions.”

Black Students United also issued a statement in support of the residents of the LLC. BSU endorsed the demands issued by LAL, and highlighted other incidents of bias that have occured around campus.

“It is truly a disgrace to attend an institution that prides itself off of the motto ‘any person, any study,’ but whose students are still susceptible to being attacked on campus because of their identities even 150+ years after it’s founding,” read the statement, which was posted on Facebook.

Lombardi’s statement, LAL’s statement and BSU’s statement all referenced, directly and indirectly, President Trump’s decision on Tuesday to end the DACA.

“Our community was already under duress and feeling vulnerable,” the LAL statement said. “Then, to be met with such behavior in one of the only safe spaces on campus is infuriating, and LAL firmly denounces discriminatory speech.”

  • Cornell14

    We must build the wall

    • EcoAdvocate

      build the wall around Drumpf and his sheep.

      • George Glass

        Trump was elected on the campaign promise of building a wall. Trying to thwart the building of the wall is going against democracy and the will of the people. Trump won the election. Trying to impede him is anti-democratic.

  • Jay Wind

    The most important part of Lombardi’s statement is, “he recognizes ‘rights of open expression.'” That is a full and complete answer to the “demands” of the residents of Comstock Hall and of the Black Students United. They are asking Cornell to do something that is prohibited by the First Amendment and centuries of tradition in institutions of higher education: we do not sanction or punish speech or thoughts.

    There are two different ideas being expressed “build a wall” — which is presumably a reference to the President’s proposal to build a wall on our southern border and “Let’s build a wall around the LLC,” which is presumably a criticism of discrimination against non-Latinos in selecting the residents of Comstock Hall. Both topics are important social policy issues that deserve discussion. While chanting outside a living unit is less than ideal, all Cornellians should support the “rights of open expression” without any apologies.

    • crasher1339

      Agree 100%

    • Dwaboutit

      Anyone can apply to live in the LLC. people of all groups have historically lived there. No one has ever been denied on the basis of their race or ethnicity. Plenty of white people, black, Asian, and other groups have lived there. It’s not segregatory at all.

      • Ezra Tank

        Then why call it a Latino Living Center? Don’t you see the hypocrisy?

        • NoDAPL

          BECAUSE IT FOCUSES ON LATINO CULTURE AND ANYONE CAN HAVE AN INTRESRT IN LATINO CULTURE. Why do we have JAM, why do we have an art living space. We aren’t instruments, we aren’t easels. Lmao??? Bye

          • Ezra Tank

            Ah so there is an Irish Living Center? How about a Romanian Living Center?

            Hey here’s an idea why not just call it a “Living Center”.

  • crasher1339

    One stupid and probably drunk moron and it’s all about fraternities. If it were some moron in an apartment building next door no-one would care

  • crasher1339

    Too much political correctness going on here

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  • Ezra Tank

    Why is there a Latino Living Center?

    Why must liberal Cornell slice every person into their neat little box then act shocked when people act differently?

    • NoDAPL

      Lmao. When there wasn’t one, white people threatened miniorties daily and targeted the Latinx a community. When there wasn’t one, White bantering was allowed, White harassment, allowed, White destruction of Latinx Art, allowed. And now there is a space meant to be free from all the shit, and your complaining? Be happy there isn’t White Living Center.

      • Ezra Tank

        So you openly admit racism and segregation is the answer? Really?

        White people threatened minorities daily? LOL. Please give me an example. Can I complain when a crime alert comes out and the suspect is a minority?

        Again stop putting people in boxes. That’s the only way to end racism.

  • roccolore

    Typical Mexican supremacist crybabies.

    • NoDAPL

      Lmao. Most of the people at the Latino Center aren’t even Mexican. But yes, that racial profiling and racism is totally accepted. Glad you agree. :))

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  • George Glass

    Latino Living Center?

    Is that near the White Living Center? Oh wait … there isn’t such a place.

    Strange how minorities can choose to live in segregated housing but also demand the option to live among White people and forbid White people from choosing to live with only other White people.

    The standard response for this glaring double standard is always “minorities feel unsafe in a White-dominated society.”

    Strange how irrational paranoid fear of White people is totally alright but suspecting a black youth of shoplifting is profiling.

    Too much double think.

    • NoDAPL

      Lmao. When there wasn’t one, white people threatened miniorties daily and targeted the Latinx community. When there wasn’t one, White bantering was allowed, White harassment, allowed, White destruction of Latinx Art, allowed. And now there is a space meant to be free from all the shit, and your complaining? Be happy there isn’t White Living Center.

      • George Glass

        Sorry babe. If you are going to take down statues and busts of White men, we’re going to wash away your sidewalk chalk doodles.

  • Mary

    From “La Asociacion Latina” Facebook page: “we do not care about the background of said students who engaged in the chant”….$1000 says the brother(s) involved were hispanic.

  • NoDAPL

    These comments are so fucken toxic.

    • Ezra Tank

      Isn’t there a safe space nearby for you? Better get on that.

      You never once addressed any of the double standards pointed out, just doubled down on your need for one way segregation.

  • Jay Wind

    I do not follow LAL’s logic. The theory for defending a separate Latino Living Center is that a) living there is voluntary and b) that it is open to both Latino and non-Latino student. If shouting or chanting at Anna Comstock Hall is to a group that is not necessarily Latino, and with the exception of perhaps a few Dreamers, the group is in compliance with the immigration laws, then how is it “verbally marginalizing Latino”? Similarly, if some Latino Cornellians chose to live in the LLC instead of the many other fine opportunities that are open to them (including fraternities), then how is it that the Cornell community is marginalizing them as opposed to students marginalizing themselves? What basis does the LAL have for demanding anything of anyone at Cornell? I think that the adversarial/confrontational tone of the LAL is doing far more damage to Latino’s standing and acceptance within the Cornell community than any late night shouting or chanting.

    Everyone needs to take a deep breath and find ways to build bridges rather than amp up resentments.

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