Students at Ithaca College in Ithaca New York hope to send a message to the President of the school.
The Student Government recently called for a campuswide “no-confidence vote” in President Tom Rochon and his administration.
The issues began after a racist party encouraged students to dress like “thugs” and wear “bling.” However, Ithaca students had to endure even worse racism in early October, during the University’s “Blue Sky” kickoff event.
A panel discussion was supposed to be about how alumni should be helping to reshape the educational landscape for Ithaca’s new generation.
Panelist Tatiana Sy, who is an African-American, made a statement about her “savage” hunger for knowledge while she was a student at Ithaca College.
Two other alumni, billionaire business man Chris Burch ’76 and panel moderator Bob Kur ’70, thought it was a good idea to refer continuously to Sy as a “savage” during portions of the discussion.
Take a look at the video and you can clearly see a student bristling at the comments, putting his down and folding his hands over his head in what appears to be anger.
Chris Burch earned his money by founding and selling Eagle Eye apparel and the Tory Burch fashion label. Chris Burch has diversified into hotels and is partnered with Ellen DeGeneres in her E.D. line.
Dozens of faculty members were pissed after the “Blue Sky” event and penned a scathing open letter to President Rochon, who took four days to reply to the crisis on his campus.
“We are disheartened and disappointed by the fact that our academic leaders did not intervene and object to this demeaning, and highly inappropriate phrase,” faculty members wrote in the signed letter.
The faculty questioned Burch’s ethics after the racially charged discussion.
“We also question the choice of putting a white, entrepreneurial billionaire who bragged about his ownership of a resort on an island in Indonesia, which he described as backward and primitive, at the center of a conversation about the future of an Ithaca College education.”
Like the faculty, the students were disappointed in President Rochon’s slow reaction to the issues.
“So many things have happened that have required a strong administration, especially a strong president, and we’ve seen a true lack of that,” said Dominick Recckio, the student body President, who sponsored the resolution.
Students also took their anger past words, with protests that took place throughout October. Now, their opinions will become a matter of record after today’s vote.
The results of the campuswide poll will be published on November 30, regardless of how many students vote.