The evening after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Ithaca College President Tom Rochon released an announcement on Intercom calling for “mutual respect and an environment of inclusion.”
Rochon mentioned in the Nov. 9 message that he had heard “unofficial reports of some overtly racist behaviors and language taking place on our campus in relation to the outcome of the political election.” Tom Dunn, lieutenant in the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, said there were no such incidents reported to Public Safety.
David Maley, senior associate director of media and community relations, said via email that Rochon received the information third hand.
“Out of an abundance of caution, given the volatility and emotions surrounding the election results, President Rochon thought it best to communicate to the campus community regarding behaviors that are unacceptable and remind everyone about sources for support,” Maley stated.
Across the country, students have protested Trump’s election on college campuses, including the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Connecticut; the University of Oregon; and the University of Pittsburgh. On Nov. 9, an anti-Trump rally was held in the Ithaca Commons where residents and students expressed disbelief and frustration over the outcome of the election.
Following Trump’s win, incidents of racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and transphobia have been reported across the country and highlighted on social media.
Rochon described the campaign as “long, difficult and polarizing” and said the “surprising” election result heightened emotions on both sides.
“Those emotions are no excuse for racist, harassing or uncivil behavior,” he stated. “We must commit to supporting each other’s welfare, and to engaging in respectful dialogue even — or, especially — with those whose political positions are different from our own.”
Rochon instructed those who experience threatening behavior to contact the Office of Public Safety at 607-274-3333. He also pointed members of the campus community who could use counseling toward the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and the Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff.
Staff Writer Jack Sears contributed reporting.