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Black Cornell Student Beaten in Racially Charged Attack

The university has seen several racially charged incidents over the past few weeks.

CREATIVE COMMONS | FLICKR

A Black Cornell University junior claims he was beaten by a group of white students in what appears to be yet another racially charged incident at the school.


The student, speaking to The Cornell Daily Sun under the condition of anonymity, said he was walking back to his residence on Sept. 15 when he saw several strangers pushing his friends. He yelled at the group to leave and they allegedly began yelling racial slurs at him.

"They said 'F*ck you, n*gger,' over and over, as they were leaving," the junior said. He approached them, at which time "four or five of the guys came up and started punching me in the face repeatedly," he said.

The attack left him "pretty bloodied up," he told The Sun.

Another unidentified student reported to The Sun that later the same night one of the students involved in the first incident called him a racial slur as well.

Video of the incident is dark but racial slurs can be heard. The video was obtained by The Sun and reportedly reviewed by Ithaca Police. The student is not visible in the video.

One of the students who attacked the junior has been identified as John Greenwood, a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. According to The Sun, Greenwood was charged with one count of third-degree assault and one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree.

"We are actively investigating all aspects of this complaint including any racially biased motivation," Ithaca police reported to BuzzFeed News.

The New York Times identified the victim as a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.

"Every time I watch TV and I hear a story like this, I know it could easily be me because I look the same as those people. I expected it to happen at some point," he told the Times.

Greenwood said in a statement through his attorney, Raymond Schather, to BuzzFeed that "he accepts full responsibility" for his words and expressed apologies "to my fellow students, the entire Cornell community and my family and friends."

However, BuzzFeed noted, "Greenwood did not reference a physical altercation."

The Cornell chapter of Psi Upsilon was suspended last year after its former president, Wolfgang Ballinger, allegedly locked a woman in his bedroom and forced her to have oral sex with him.

Following the most recent alleged attack, the Psi Upsilon alumni Board of Governors informed Cornell they planned to shut down the university's chapter. In a statement Ryan Lombardi, vice president of campus and student life, and Fred Van Sickle, vice president for alumni affairs and development, said the former fraternity house would be renovated "for the use of student organizations at Cornell that are dedicated to promoting a diverse and inclusive student community."

On Thursday the Cornell Student Assembly passed Resolution 8, which condemns hate crimes and speech. It specifically acknowledges the two incidents that occurred on Sept. 15 and a separate incident about a week earlier when at least one member of a different fraternity, Zeta Psi, shouted "build a wall around the LLC" outside of the school's Latino Living Center.

In its resolution the SA said it "unequivocally condemns all forms of the kyriarchy which these racist actions are a manifestation of" and further "calls on all members of the Cornell community to join" the condemnation.

On Wednesday a group of students — primarily students of color — participated in a demonstration led by Black Students United. Over 300 students marched in Willard Straight Hall and pled for more diversity at the school as well as the creation of an anti-racism institute.

The march echoed that of the 1969 Willard Straight Hall Takeover, at which time Black students marched on the same building and demanded equal treatment for Blacks on campus.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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Seven Charles' mother said he was teased for his medical condition, choked and called a "n****r" by a peer.

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Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement

"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.

Screen shot of Instagram video by Kaya Taitano

UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.

Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.

Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four protesters who identify themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.

"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.

Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''

But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.

"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."

Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.

ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.

The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.

One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:

Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.

Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.

Phillips, a Vietnam Era veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:

"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"

He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."

He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."

Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: browe@covcath.org).

An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:

"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.

"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.

"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.

Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:

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