Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Open Letter: Ithaca College alumni stand with POC at IC

As our alma mater experiences a historic wave of student and campus-wide activism against the irresponsibility and injustices taking place under Tom Rochon’s presidency, we Ithaca College alumni stand with POC at IC and express our utter lack of confidence in President Tom Rochon. The racial and administrative quandary present today on campus was the same force that informed our experiences, and struggles, at Ithaca, and we are proud to witness such a strong student movement that makes its voice heard, asks questions and takes action. The results are clear: 406 out of 469 eligible faculty voted in the faculty no-confidence vote, and 77.8% expressed a lack of confidence in Tom Rochon. 3,756 out of the student body of 6,907 voted in the student no-confidence vote, and 71.75% have voted “no confidence.” As constituents of the Ithaca College community, we are adding our voice to this campus consensus to help push for the equitable change that our college has so badly needed.

The fight for justice and fairness on campus is not a new one; this fight began the moment the first person of color stepped foot on our predominantly white college campus, and we are here to continue demanding that we are seen and support those currently facing the same struggles we have faced during our time as students. Throughout his tenure, President Rochon has only exacerbated this adverse racial climate, and his removal would signal a direct challenge to the top-down, culturally incompetent administration that currently inundates campus operations. To re-emphasize the mounting evidence brought forth by students and faculty, Rochon chose to distance the college from the perpetrators of the racist incidents surrounding both the Blue Sky Reimagining Kick-Off and Alpha Epsilon party, rather than take any meaningful action. Last year, he insulted hundreds of protesters standing before him by stating that he “will not speak on the issue” of police brutality and claiming that a Native American studies minor was already effectively in place, when it had been defunct for years due to a lack of funding. Rochon’s yearly compensation of $543,499 outpaces compensations of presidents of similar colleges and universities, yet the average faculty salary lies below the median in the peer group. Part-time faculty are paid a meager $1,300 per credit hour, and Rochon expressed no interest in supporting their vote for unionization. He has cut dozens of faculty and staff positions and retaliated against disagreement. He has appointed at least four members of corporations both harmful to environmental and social welfare. His administration withheld the results of the 2012 Campus Climate survey for nearly a year, a survey which revealed substantial dissatisfaction by students of color and was released only by consistent pressure from the Student Government Association. His tenure has seen the increase in students of color at Ithaca College without any attempt to retain them, with student of color retention remaining consistently low. These actions are not isolated but show that President Rochon’s administration has practiced a systemic pattern of insidious racism and out-of-touch, authoritative leadership hiding comfortably within the clenches of bureaucracy.

To President Rochon, the board of trustees, and all administrators: we are closely watching what is taking place on campus, and we will remain vocal and active in making sure that our alma mater progresses in the right direction. To the student activists: your leadership humbles us, we stand alongside you all, and wish to express our unwavering support to your cause.


Ithaca College Alumni
Shyanne A. Ruiz, Class of 2013; Bud-Erdene Gankhuyag, Class of 2014; Shayna Dunitz, Class of 2013; Jordana Jarrett, Class of 2015; Madeline Jarvis, Class of 2012; Janine Jarvis, Class of 2005; Jacqueline Campbell, Class of 2013; Keith Dickey, Class of 2012; Maya Cueva, Class of 2015; Errold Jones, Class of 2015; Andrea Bichan, Class of 2011; Cedrick-Michael Simmons, Class of 2014; Zack Ford, Class of 2007; Pete Quandt, Class of 2015; Allison Cipriano, Class of 2015; Kathlyn Quan, Class of 2015; Natasha Thompson, Class of 2013; Holly Athas, class of 2016; Helena Murphy, Class of 2015; Emily Francis, Class of 2015; Daisy Arriaga, Class of 2013; River Ferris, Class of 2011; Tessa Crisman, Class of 2014; Samantha Gibble, Class of 2015; Katharine Levittan, Class of 2014; Marisa M. Andrews, Class of 2014; Jessica Santos, Class of 2013; Leah Galant, Class of 2015; Malika Giddens, Class of 2015, Yukino Kondo, Class of 2014, Rena Ostry, Class of 2013; Gautam Singhani, Class of 2014; Candace Edwards, Class of 2009; Isaac Sahasrabudhe Derfel, Class of 2014; Lucy Gram, Class of 2012; Kiera D. Duckworth, Class of 2010; Meredith MacVittie, class of 2003; Robert Haskell, Class of 2015; Matt Orama, Class of 2014; Amelia Blevins, Class of 2012; Brian Saá, Class of 2008; Elizabeth Espada, Class of 2009; Vivian Lin, Class of 2015; Gabriela Owens, Class of 2010; Tracey A. Casseus, Class of 2010; Donny Tang, Class of 2005; Candace Burton, Class of 2014; Sarah Grunberg, Class of 2008; Sara Fitouri, class of 2012; Kirsten Carter, Class of 2003; Cady Lang, class of 2014; Crystal Kayiza, Class of 2015; Kerry Dolan, class of 2008; Corinna Evancoe, class of 2010; Alyssa Frey, Class of 2014; David Lurvey, Class of 2013; Meira Keil, Class of 2013; Matthew Connolly, Class of 2011; Cassandra Leveille, Class of 2011; Ryan Griffiths (Prosser) Class of 2003; Andrew Abreu, Class of 2009; Max Lorn-Krause, Class of 2012; Rebecca Billings, Class of 2014; Marc Manuel Gonzalez, Class of 2015; Dan Tillapaugh, Class of 2001; Emmanuel Keukjian, Class of 2015; Joshua Couce, Class of 2015; María González-Howard, Class of 2008; Allison London, Class of 2013; Danielle West, class of 2013; Alexandra Kenyon, Class of 2015; Sharlene Nichols, Class of 2010; Johanna Leister, Class of 2013; Noah Lillian Drori, 2011; Alexandra Battaglia, Class of 2015; Rebekah Forni, Class of 2012; Turquoise Collins, Class of 2011; Dennis Sanchez, Class of 2014; Tabitha Bourgeois Donegan, Class of 2003; Jesse Maeshiro, Class of 2013; Corey Jeffers, Class of 2011; Juan Duchimaza Heredia, Class of 2011; Keyla Hernandez, Class of 2013; Clara Fadina, Class of 2013; Chelsea Dutton, Class of 2011; Natalie Mendes, Class of 2014; Justine Stephens, Class of 2014; Wolf Weston, Class of 2014; Marlene Chasolen, Class of 2015; Heather Stefanescu, Class of 2012; Emily Rindone, Class of 2002; Sarah Perry, Class of 2013; Madeline Graziano, Class of 2015; Norah Baker (fmr. Sweeney), Class of 2012; Andrew M. Weir, Class of 2015; Jeremy Betterley, Class of 2014; Nia Scretching, Class of 2012; Gregory Carter, Class of 2014; Taryn Hubbard, Class of 2010; Jeffrey Chilton, Class of 2014; Emily LaPierre, Class of 2015; Shayaun Pakizegi, Class of 2015; Lauren Mateer, Class of 2013; Keyla Hernandez, Class of 2013; Arantxa Benjamin, Class of 2013; Dylan Lowry, Class of 2013; Matthew Kempner, Class of 2015; Laura Perez, class of 2014; Nikolas Dickerson, 2005; Reeve Moir, class of 2014; Alessandra Tantawi, Class of 2015; Kaley Belval, class of 2015; Tommy McAree, 2013; Sarah Myers James, Class of 2010; Karamvir Bhatti, Class of  2014; Nathaniel Hemingway, Class of 2013; Karissa Breuer, class of 2014; Karly Placek, class of 2015; Katherine Huber, Class of 2015; Mary Edwards-Ransom, Class of 2004; Julie Zeldin, Class of 2004; Ellis Williams 2013; Sarah Czwartacky, 2015; Julia Ryan, class of 2014; Kierra Winston 2014; Molly Gonzales 2014; Dorothea Hinman, 2015; Megan Butterfield 2015; Lauren Trieschmann, 2015; Averi Smith, Class of  2011; Grace Currie, 2015; Reisy Veloz, Class of 2013; Indiana Grimes, Class of 2013; Emily Ramos, 2015; Andrea Levine 2009; Kristy Zhen, class of 2013; Samantha Sherry, Class of 2013; Emily NaPier, Class of 2002; Lauren Campasano, Class of 2012; Kimberly Jacobus, Class of 2015; Mark Vigorito, Class of 2000; Shelley Facente, Class of 2002; Stephanie Masline, Class of 2008; Helena Mica, Class of 2005; Genevieve Billia, Class of 2004; Grace Onorato Spinner, Class of 2004; Kassidy Hertel, 2003; Jared Dionne, Class of 2013; Owen Perry, 2003; Ayesha Patel, Class of 2015; Kelly Christian, Class of 2013; Sierra Council, Class of 2015; Kate Flanders, Class of  2014; Katrina Vega, Class of 2014; Nilshika Weerasinghe, Class of 2015; Keona Campbell 2013; Tariq Meyers, 2014; Allie Goldsmith, Class of 2013; Gabriela Gonzalez 2014; Chelsea Hartman 2015; Rachael Lewis-Krisky, Class of 2014; Jessie Braverman, Class of 2016; Brendan Vogt, 2015; Candace King, Class of 2015; Alicia Rosa, Class of 2015; Brandy Heath 2013; Bret Coffey, Class of 2015; Emily Shaw, Class of 2013; Marisa Silva , Class of 2014; Sara-Maria Sorentino, Class of 2008; Tara J Foley – class of 2002; Samantha Brucker, 2013; Avigyle Carmeli, 2013; Mamuyan Jones, 2012; Zeke Wright, 2007; Taryn Boley, Class of 2015; Alexandra O’Neill, 2015; Matthew Morales, Class of 2013; Justine Gray, Class of 2015; Cory Healy, Class of 2013; Isabelle Glass, Class of 2015; Lashawn Nixon, Class of 2015; Okwudili Udeh, Class of 2013; Quianna B., Class of 2014; Dana McCalla, Class of 2013; Heather Matthews Morse, Class of 2005; Alison Bliss, Class of 2008; Celia Stahr Class of 2005; Jacob Frumkin, Class of 2008; Eric Pierce, Class of 2005; Jennifer Addonizio Rozen, Class of 2003; Elizabeth Rodriguez, Class of 2010; Fallon Blossom, Class of  2008; Emily McNeill, Class of  2008; Emily Brown, Class of 2012; Candice Brown, Class of 2014; Chanel Cohen, Class of 2013; Cody Norton, Class of 2011