June 8, 2011

CUPD Investigating Whether Reported Assault Was Hate Crime

Print More

Cornell University Police are continuing to investigate a reported assault of a student that occurred on Sunday evening. Facts uncovered by the CUPD indicate that there was an element of racial bias to the attack, police say.

In a statement issued Wednesday, President David Skorton and Susan Murphy, vice president for Student and Academic Services, said that while they “are relieved to report that the victim of this incident is expected to recover fully, [they] are dismayed that such an incident should have occurred at all in our community.”

“We will not tolerate such behavior and are committed to investigating the incident fully. We remain committed to strengthening our campus community so that all can feel safe and thrive,” they added.

According to the University, a student of Asian descent was riding his bicycle along College Avenue near the intersection of Campus Road when he was approached by a vehicle with four subjects who yelled racial epithets out the window at him.

The vehicle followed the victim on to West Avenue where two white male passengers exited the vehicle. One of the men approached the student and assaulted him. The victim was treated for injuries at Cayuga Medical Center and released.

Chief of Police Kathy Zoner said that CUPD was in discussions with the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether the assault meets the legal standards of a hate crime.

“We have been in touch with [the District Attorney’s office] and they are certainly willing to look at the possibility that it was a hate crime, but since the investigation is not complete, a decision cannot yet be made,” Zoner said.

Zoner said that police were moving closer to completing the investigation.

“We do have several good leads … we feel very hopeful that we will identify the perpetrators, but with no one to charge, there is no charge.” Zoner said.

According to the statement, Cornell Police are interviewing people who witnessed the incident and believe that there are more witnesses that have not come forward. The University is asking that anyone who has information about the incident contact CUPD at 607-255-1111.

Original Author: Liz Camuti