Michael Wenye Li/ Sun Assistant Photography Editor

VP Ryan Lombardi speaks at North Campus Expansion forum in GSH on Feb.28. He made a statement on Tuesday morning in response to the appearance of three swastikas in Cornell's North Campus.

November 20, 2018

Cornell Vice President Responds to Spate of Swastikas on North Campus

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Ryan Lombardi, vice president of student & campus life, denounced the appearance of three anti-Semitic signs on North Campus and elaborated on the University’s response to the incidents in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“I vehemently denounce such acts, which are clearly intended to intimidate members of our community,” Lombardi said in the email sent to students, faculty and staff — hours after The Sun’s article detailing the spate of anti-Semitic incidents was published. “I specifically want to acknowledge and affirm our support for the Jewish members of our community who have faced the impact of anti-Semitism nationally and, unfortunately, now locally as well.”

Three swastikas were found in a nine-day span in Clara Dickson Hall, Court-Kay-Bauer Hall, and the Appel Commons — all locations within the predominantly-freshmen residential zone — causing concern and worry amongst students aware of the situation.

Previously, the only public statement on the incidents was a Facebook post issued by Cornell Hillel on Thursday — prior to the third incident on Monday of a swastika being etched in snow. Cornell Hillel President Sasha Chanko had said the post cased “confusion” and “just didn’t give as much information as probably would be ideal for a student” because the University did not provide enough clarifying details.

The Sun previously reported that the University has responded in inconsistent manners to the three incidents. The resident advisors briefed the residents of Clara Dickson Hall about the swastika drawings in their buildings; however, the residents of Court-Kay-Bauer Hall had not been told a swastika appeared on a whiteboard in one of the common areas — even though their incident took place before the Dickson incident — according to The Sun’s interview with the dorms’ residents.

Lombardi affirmed in his statement that resident advisors and resident hall directors have taken steps toward addressing the incidents since the first one was reported to Cornell 10 days ago, adding that the University will convene a “support meeting” after the Thanksgiving break.

“Resident Advisors in affected communities have held floor meetings, Residence Hall Directors have sent building-wide support and resource messages, and staff and students have filed bias reports and notified CUPD,” Lombardi wrote in the statement.

The Student Assembly also issued a statement that echoed Lombardi’s sentiments, urging students to take initiative to fight anti-Semitism at Cornell.

“We don’t know who did this; however, they had a very specific intention to scare and intimidate,” read the S.A. statement given to The Sun. “At a time in our country where anti-Semitic hate crimes are rapidly increasing, every member of the Cornell community should take notice and work to combat hate in our community.”

A Cornell spokesperson confirmed late Monday night that the University and Cornell Police are reviewing the three bias incidents that were reported. It is still unclear whether these three incidents are connected or who is behind them.