Four Cornell students were assaulted in two different altercations over the weekend in Collegetown, and both suspects are on the loose, leaving administrators and faculty members to address the emotional effect that the violence has had on students.
Administrators announced that a community support meeting would be held on Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Room 158 of Goldwin Smith Hall in an attempt to offer emotional support to students and provide a place where the campus community can come together.
“Those who wish to challenge the dignity of others have again attempted to compromise our community, but we will stand firm in our resolve to reject and express our disgust at such actions,” Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, and Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer, said in a joint statement.
Prof. Charles Van Loan, dean of faculty, sent an email to faculty on Sunday night saying, among a series of updates, “When things like this happen it is important to accommodate those who are emotionally impacted and to talk with them about the event.”
The administrators’ response follows the physical assault of three male students early on Saturday morning in which one student said he was harassed using racial slurs, and the sexual assault of a female Cornell student on Sunday night as she tried to get into her home.
Suspects in both cases are on the loose, and Ithaca and Cornell police are urging anyone with information to contact the departments.
The female student reported to police that she had locked herself out of her house on Linden Avenue and was trying to get in through a ground floor window when a man grabbed her at about 10:15 p.m., threw her to the ground and groped her beneath her clothing. The unidentified student fought off her attacker and called for help.
The student described the suspect as a white man with an average build and short, light brown hair. Cornell Police said the suspect was college-aged and Ithaca Police said he was between 20 and 30. He is approximately 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and was wearing jeans with a belt and a black heavy jacket, the victim reported.
On Saturday at about 1:30 a.m., students reported to police that a white man began harassing a student using unspecified racial slurs beside a food truck on the corner of Eddy Street and Dryden Road.
The white man assaulted the student, police said, at which point two additional students intervened to try and fend off the suspect. All three students were injured in the altercation, and two were treated at Cayuga Medical Center and later released.
The assault, following racial epithets, happened less than two blocks away from where a black student reported being assaulted and called a racist slur in Collegetown by a white student last semester.
Police described the suspect in the Saturday morning assault as a college-aged white man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with blond-brown hair and wearing a windbreaker with a full-length zipper and a New England Patriots logo. The man fled the scene with two other men headed south on Eddy Street toward East Buffalo Street.
The Ithaca Police Department can be contacted by calling 607-272-3245 for police dispatch, 607-272-9973 for police administration or by using the online tip form, through which tips may be submitted anonymously.
The Cornell Police Department’s investigations unit can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 607-255-1111, or anonymously through the Cornell Police Silent Witness Program online.
Cornell said students can consult with counselors from Cornell Health by calling 607-255-5155 and can speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277. Employees can call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 607-255-2673.
The Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. Additional resources are available at caringcommunity.cornell.edu.