November 3, 2000

University to Respond Today to Bias Incidents

Print More

Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice president for student and academic services, is scheduled to release a statement this afternoon in response to the recent string of bias-related incidents involving Asian students at Cornell.

Murphy’s response comes after more than 40 student organizations came together to present President Hunter R. Rawlings III and other administrators with a proposal that aims to “transform the cultural, intellectual and environmental climate” at Cornell.

Four bias-related incidents have occurred on campus this semester. In the first case, an Asian female student was sexually assaulted and intimidated in mid-September. In the second and third cases, an Asian female student and four Asian alumnae, respectively, were verbally harassed within a week of the assault. In a fourth case which occurred last weekend, an Asian male student was also verbally harassed on Tower Road.

Murphy said yesterday evening that she had met with Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin and planned to discuss her response with Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, this morning.

Lisa Wang ’02, co-president of Asian Pacific Americans for Action (APAA), said her organization had already begun working with the University to set up a committee to discuss possible solutions and ideas.

“We would like a more explicit statement that Cornell will not tolerate these types of crimes,” Wang said.

Wang also said the APAA hopes to receive a response regarding its proposal for classes dealing with tolerance or other academic measures to educate Cornell students.

Student organizers gathered Tuesday afternoon expecting a response but received an e-mail from Murphy explaining that she would not be able to attend the meeting.

Murphy did say that the administration is continuing to research the situation and that “we do have work underway vis a vis lighting and blue light phones. Also, several initiatives are occurring within the student life area.”

Murphy added that she “plans to meet with students at some point” but that no specific date has been set.

Malik Dixon ’02, who has also been a part of the discussions with University officials, said he is “expecting to see the University take action and make changes” in response to the bias-related incidents.

“[Cornell] is an institution, so the process is always slow,” Dixon said.

He added that students who bring attention to problems on campus have often graduated by the time any real action is taken so that many important issues are forgotten.

“I don’t believe that any of these [racially-motivated] incidents were isolated,” Dixon said. “In fact, I don’t believe that any incidents [like these] in this country can be called isolated.”

Archived article by Katherine Davis