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.”