The Ithaca College Republicans released a statement Sept. 24 apologizing for politicizing the death of Mollie Tibbetts in a previous press release.
On Sept. 4, IC Republicans released a statement calling for stricter immigration policies using the example of Mollie Tibbetts — a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa — who was found dead Aug. 21 after going missing on a jog July 18. Cristhian Bahena Rivera, an undocumented Mexican farmworker, was arrested and charged for the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. After her death, many politicians — including United States President Donald Trump and various governors — also capitalized on her death to argue that there is a need for stricter immigration policies. As a result, Tibbetts’ father wrote an op-ed in the Des Moines Register on Sept. 1 asking people to stop politicizing his daughter’s death.
The initial IC Republicans press release generalized all “illegal immigrants” as people more likely to commit crime than native-born Americans. This is a debunked claim, which the IC Republicans acknowledged in its apology statement.
“The IC Republicans would like to formally apologize to the Tibbets’ [sic] family for elevating their tragedy to the national stage,” the release said. “We would also like to state that we recognize the generalizations made were wrong. It is wrong to say that all illegal immigrants engage in crimes against the people of the United States.”
Senior Lucas Veca, president of IC Republicans, said he had no further comment.
Dave Maley, senior public information officer at the college, said President Shirley M. Collado has no further comment on the issue. Maley said Collado is committed to “nurturing a more respectful, inclusive and equitable campus community.”