February 23, 2024

GUEST ROOM | I’m Yash Moitra. This Is My Side of the Story

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Over the past week, I’ve skipped most of my classes, bombed a quiz or two and haven’t been able to prepare for any of my prelims. I’ve been called slurs, told to “watch my back” and even had people I knew refuse to speak with me in public. I’m Yash Moitra, and I’ve been under constant threat, always scared that the anonymous posts would come true. If you looked my name up as of last Tuesday, it’s one of the first things you’d see: “Who is Yash Moitra?” Well, I’m Yash Moitra, and this is my side of the story.

It was late at night. I got a phone call from a close friend. He asked if I wrote “the manifesto.” I genuinely had no idea what he was talking about. Soon, the posts began to roll in: It began on Sidechat and soon spread to Greekrank. The rumors had no bounds: Some claimed I tried to “expose” business clubs; some said I single-handedly took down the frats; and some just called me an “untouchable.” I tried to ask anyone who might know: Where did this come from? My weekend plans typically involved going to several frat parties, but I never tried to rush. I didn’t even know what the process looked like. To this date, I don’t know why anyone thinks I had anything to do with it. Online forums, however, didn’t seem to care. No one cared that I never sent any reports or manifestos to anyone; no one cared that the IFC President and Advisor both clarified this to every single fraternity leader as of last week, and no one cared that your upvotes on unfounded posts were creating a very real danger for me.

I’ve been quoted in the Sun twice: once saying that antisemitism was bad, and once saying that business clubs could schedule events better. That’s it. I don’t hate the business clubs or fraternities, nor do I have any idea of the allegations that were leveled against them. As it would seem, though, someone began a rumor that I wrote a “manifesto” of hazing violations and sent it to someone else. I did not know about and have no involvement in the matter, but this doesn’t seem to matter, because, over the past few days, all I’ve heard from anyone who knows me is: “Did you do it?”

So, dear friends, fraternity brothers, classmates and prospective employers: I didn’t do it. Please stop judging me, threatening me and telling me, “I’ll pay for what I did,” because I didn’t do it. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that I had anything to do with this, so why me? Why me, Cornell? Frankly, I couldn’t name half the fraternities if I tried, and I don’t know many people who are rushing. I didn’t want to stir up a storm when I commented on the business clubs either; my quote was misinterpreted, and I sincerely regret it. Some of my best memories at Cornell so far have come from late nights at a frat house and inspiring coffee chats with club members. I respect and appreciate what these organizations bring to Cornell, and I do not want to harm them in any way, shape or form. Do they need reform? Maybe. Nothing is perfect, after all. But are they still an incredible force for genuine bonding and healthy connection? Yes.

I’m Yash Moitra, and as much as some of you may not want to believe me, I am not the person you’re looking for. I am a freshman who has spent maybe six months in this country, and I am scared for dear life. Because of what those posts did, I can’t ever focus in class; I check to see if I locked my door five times; and I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder to see if someone’s following me. 

I’m Yash Moitra, and I genuinely just want to have a good time. Yes, I applied to a lot of business clubs. Yes, I don’t look like you or talk like you. Yes, I probably don’t fit into your version of normal. But all I want is for you to look beyond that. 

I’m Yash Moitra, and I want to be a member of the Cornell community. You may not see it, but I sit for hours at the Student Assembly every week making policies to improve your time here. You may not notice it, but I worked two jobs last semester just to sustain myself. You may not know it, but I spent weeks refining my resume for business club applications, only to be cut because of one single quote that was misinterpreted.

Alas, it may not matter to you. For many of you, scrolling past is easy. Ignoring it is easy. Not looking at it is easy. For me, though, it’s really not. I may not ever know why people thought that I “took the frats down,” and I don’t particularly expect anyone to care. But if you’ve bothered to read this far, I sincerely hope that you’ll care enough to question something before believing it. It takes a second to upvote something and forget. I hope you’ll take that second to think. So, this is my spiel: I don’t want to take down your frats. I want to be part of your clubs. I want to be part of your community. I hope you’ll let me.

I’m Yash Moitra, and this is my side of the story.

Yash Moitra is a first-year student and Student Assembly representative for the Dyson School of Business. He can be reached at [email protected].

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