Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Posters reading "No Nazis at Cornell" punctuate dozens of other advertising posters at the entrance to Goldwin Smith Hall on Oct. 24, 2017.

October 24, 2017

Students to ‘Stand Together’ Following Racist, Anti-Semitic Incidents

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Scores of Cornell students will don red and stand together on Ho Plaza on Wednesday to protest all forms of bigotry following multiple racially charged and anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

The students’ event at 4:30 on Wednesday, when organizers hope to be joined by University faculty and administrators, is in response to the plastering of anti-Semitic posters featuring Nazi imagery around campus, imploring students to “Join the white gang” and advertising a hate group that has no internet presence.

Brandon Cohen ’18, president of Cornell Hillel and event organizer, said the “Stand Together” event will bridge communities during a divisive and troubling time at Cornell.

“We need to talk about the implications of the posters on all members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities,” he told the Sun. “We need to unpack these incidents and bring members of the community together to stand strong as proud Cornelians.”

Students will also stand in response to other racially charged incidents at Cornell. In September, a black student said he was beaten and called the N-word by a group of white men in Collegetown. One student was charged with assault in that case. Later that month, someone submitted the N-word to an online poll displayed in a dining hall, and another person wrote an anti-Semitic joke on a shared Google Doc.

Organizers told the Sun that students will also stand in solidarity with residents of the Latino Living Center, who heard chants of “build a wall” coming from the nearby Zeta Psi fraternity house in September.

Over 70 Cornell student organizations signed and released a statement on Monday denouncing the “hateful rhetoric” of the posters and calling for the University to support marginalized people on campus and actively challenge anti-Semitism and bigotry.

The incidents targeting Latinx, Black and Muslim communities on campus, they wrote, are “part and parcel of a larger system of global white supremacy which continues to threaten the safety and livelihoods of oppressed peoples around the world.”

“There are many students, Jewish and not Jewish, including from the Latino/a community, from the Black community, that need support right now,” event organizer Danielle Eiger ’18 told the Sun. “We hope this gathering will create a space for them to feel supported, loved and cared for.”

President Martha Pollack responded to the various incidents in September by announcing the formation of a Presidential Task Force to address “bigotry and intolerance” on campus, she said in a statement. The final report for the findings will be available on May 1.

In a statement to the Cornell community following the appearance of the anti-Semitic posters, Pollack condemned the fliers’ sentiments as “abhorrent” and encouraged students to “stand strong and stand together to ensure respect, dignity and safety for all our community members.”

“We will not allow this incident to deter us from our ongoing work to address hatred and bigotry on our campus,” Pollack said.

In addition to standing together on Ho Plaza, there will also be several students speaking on Wednesday, sharing personal stories, poems or quotes, organizers said.