March 4, 2009

Two Cornell Students Charged for Vandalism of Gaza Flag Display

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Two students have been charged by the Cornell Police for their involvement in vandalizing a display on the Arts Quad meant to inform passersby about the recent violence in the Gaza Strip. The students were charged on Feb. 20 for allegedly destroying parts of the display on Feb. 9. The students’ actions violated the Campus Code of Conduct’s regulations regarding disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, according to the University.
The initial display of 1,300 black flags representing the Israeli and Palestinian victims of the recent violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip spawned a series of debates and demonstrations between students and student groups on campus. However, the Cornell Police reported that the two students acted of their own accord — they were in no way affiliated with any student organizations on campus.
“There was no indication they were acting under the guise of any group’s motivations,” Deputy Chief Kathy Zoner told the University.
The two students were identified by two unnamed community members. The Office of the Cornell Judicial Admin­istrator is currently handling and reviewing the cases of each student whose names were not made public.
While these two students have been charged, there remains to be any breakthrough in the search for those who perpetrated the reformation of the flags on the Arts Quad into a Star of David between Feb. 11 and Feb. 12.