Cornell frat bro accused of shouting ‘build a wall’ outside Latino center

‘I strongly condemn behavior that is antithetical to our proud history of inclusion’

A member of Cornell's Zeta Psi fraternity have been accused of chanting "build a wall" chants outside the Latino Living Center yesterday.

An email sent from La Asociación Latina said:

"On Wednesday, September 6th, during the early morning hours of 12:30 AM, a resident of the Latino Living Center (LLC) dorm heard chants of 'build a wall, build a wall,' coming from the direction of the Zeta Psi Fraternity house.

"Upon getting up to clarify what was being chanted, the resident specifically heard the words “Let’s build a wall around the LLC.” Due to the extremely close proximity of the resident’s living area to the actual Zeta Psi building, what was said was unmistakeable.

"The resident then went down to the main lounge of the Latino Living Center to speak to other students awake at that time about what had just occurred, and numerous bias reports were subsequently filed to report on the incident."

We have contacted Zeta Psi for comment.

The Tab understands that one student, a brother of Zeta Psi, took responsibility for the chant and contacted people on the LLC email list to apologize, explaining he was making a joke about Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, La Asociación Latina has released a list of demands on the frat that include, among others:

– Holding their members involved in the chant accountable for their actions

– Issuing a formal apology, with signatures from the entire executive board of the fraternity as well as the offending members

– Accepting sanctions that may be placed against them and adhere to them strictly

– Undergoing greater emphasis on diversity training, with requirements of all current and new members

– Calling on all Greek life organizations to recognize that this is not an individual fraternity problem, but an issue deeply ingrained within the current culture, and take active steps to ameliorate that

Their email condemned the act, adding:

"To be clear, we do not care about the background of said students who engaged in the chant. We also do not care whether or not these comments were made in jest, even setting aside the fact that this is not a joking matter in today’s current political climate. What matters is that Zeta Psi has acknowledged that these comments were said.

"Furthermore, the timing of this incident was not coincidental; this attack against the LLC community came hours after the DACA decision was announced. Our community was already under duress and feeling vulnerable. Then, to be met with such behavior in one of the only safe spaces on campus is infuriating, and LAL firmly denounces discriminatory speech."

Cornell sent an email this morning to confirm the culprit "has come forward to accept responsibility and apologize for their actions."

Ryan Lombardi, who serves as the Vice President for Student and Campus Life, said:

"It has come to my attention that in the early morning hours yesterday in the proximity of the Latino Living Center (LLC) on North Campus, vocal comments were projected about 'building a wall.' While I appreciate that an individual has come forward to accept responsibility and apologize for their actions, and I recognize rights of open expression, I am concerned by what is a continued pattern of the marginalization of many members of the Cornell community. I strongly condemn behavior that is antithetical to our proud history of inclusion, and it is incumbent upon all of us to uphold Cornell’s founding principles.

"At a time when our nation is struggling with issues of division and polarization, I urge us, as a campus community, to lean into one another for strength. Let’s model a way forward grounded in dialogue, respect, and civil engagement.

"To the Latino Living Center community, and to the numerous students, staff, faculty, and allies who are impacted, I, along with President Pollack and the senior administration, am sorry that you continue to face this; please know that Cornell is here to support you."

More to follow.

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