Cornell University’s campus has been tense lately. A little less than two weeks ago, someone took to the grounds near the school’s Latino Living Center to chant, “Build a wall, build a wall.”
Now, the university’s student population is reeling after a White student was arrested in connection with an assault of a Black student in front of his residence.
According to the Huffington Post, hundreds of students recently gathered in protest of the racial climate, prompting the university’s president to establish an anti-bigotry task force.
“I will not tell you this is not who we are, as the events of the past few weeks belie that,” Cornell President Martha Pollack wrote in a statement earlier this week. “But it is absolutely not who we want to be.”
John Greenwood, 19, was arrested Friday in connection with the assault and was charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault in the off-campus beating of the African-American student.
The student assaulted has not been identified, but he is a Cornell University junior and a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
He spoke with the Cornell Daily Sun and said he arrived at his home about1 a.m. last Friday to find a group of strangers “shoving” his friends.
When he attempted to break up the altercation, “a group of four or five” White men started to “shout expletives and racial slurs,” the student said.
“They said, ‘F**k you, n****r,’ over and over as they were leaving,” he said. The student also said he was repeatedly struck in the face by the assailants.
“I was pretty bloodied up,” he told the Sun.
In her statement posted this week, Pollack called for assistance in restoring the school’s peaceful climate.
“The leadership team and I have been working throughout the weekend, and we will continue to do so, to develop and implement steps to be a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming university,” she said.
The incident was captured on video. In it, someone can be heard repeatedly using racial slurs while another person can be heard saying, “Come fight us.”
Watch the video below. Warning: Viewer discretion is advised.