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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsInto Identity

Rochon’s comments indicate incompetence and disconnection

When asked about his biggest regrets during an hourlong interview with The Ithacan, President Tom Rochon said, “I live in terror of the idea that on my gravestone someday will be the sentence, ‘He tried to make a flying squirrel the Ithaca College mascot.’”

This is an insult to the many people like me who actually feel fear every day.

The unnamed terrorist and Ithaca College student that posted death threats over Cortaca and others who are in violent disagreement with protesters scare me.

The invisibility I feel in the classroom scares me.

Speaking and sometimes just looking up in specific classes scares me.

The fact that classes teach skills without ethics scares me.

The fact that the constant micro/macroaggressions makes me too anxious to attend class some days scares me.

Public Safety’s instances of excessive force and reckless comments with lack of reprimand scares me.

That fact that Rochon might remain president even though over 70 percent of the no confidence vote was against him scares me.

Obviously this is not a full statement of the things that invoke fear in me as an Ithaca College student, as I cannot count the times my heart has raced during conversations about race in class as pressure is put on me to speak, or while reading comments and threats online from my peers knowing they won’t learn about their wrongdoings in class, or just walking the campus and seeing the Public Safety officer that said he’d shoot a kid down like Trayvon was shot down.

I can’t count the times a professor has said something that ignores narratives, blames victims or singles me or another out due to our identity.

I can’t count the many “jokes” made during class about depression, assault or other realities for many people on this campus.

In this space, I can’t fully encompass the realities I face as a woman and POC, but I can say my entire life has been drenched in a fear manufactured to strip me of personhood, and that same fear is alive and ingrained here at Ithaca College.

I don’t speak for everyone.

These 400 words are to show that there are a plethora of things Rochon should regret not addressing during his presidency, until a national audience placed attention on this college, and should publicly admit he regrets because the college doesn’t need a president willing to paint himself as a wounded saviour while hiding behind new positions and long proposed projects.

Rochon had his chance, and he blew it.