Dear Members of the City College Community,
Early Tuesday morning, I began receiving emails from students, alumni and concerned citizens about a man, reported to be a CCNY student, who had posted a deeply offensive video of himself and a companion on Instagram, and was later filmed tearing down a "Black Lives Matter" sign on an overpass in the Whitestone neighborhood. We have investigated his status and discovered that he is no longer at CCNY, nor has he graduated from our college.
Still, this act requires a response. The language he used, in part to narrate his actions in tearing down the sign in question, are deeply offensive at any time, and more acidly so in this moment of national heartbreak and turmoil. I recently published my own thoughts on racism and CCNY's duty and position on these matters, and you can find them by following this link:
The words and actions in the video cannot be more diametrically opposed to those sentiments, convictions, and commitments, and I repudiate and condemn them.
CCNY is, above all, an educational institution, and I'm profoundly concerned that anyone could walk our hallways and study in our classrooms without being educated out of a racist mindset. The embrace and respect for diversity is not merely an obligation on our campus—I would have thought it an irresistible invitation to participate in the full spectrum of human experience. Diversity is not a burden, it is a celebration and a joy. I'm crestfallen that this person seems so entirely to have missed that opportunity, and so deprived himself while on our campus. I hope that in time he learns what he has missed by closing himself off and that he corrects himself.
The words and actions represented on these videos are at clear odds with our campus code of conduct, and I have referred the matter to our chief diversity officer for investigation. That investigation will need to take account of the fact that the student no longer is enrolled at CCNY, and that will certainly affect the kinds of measures we can take. Nevertheless, when I have received the results of that investigation, I will issue instructions for action. I am aware that some who wrote me would like a summary judgment of this matter. I am committed to decisive justice in this case but am also bound by the duty to follow due process in campus proceedings.
On any given day, upwards of 18,000 people come to our campus, study in our classrooms, work in our laboratories, and enjoy the company of one another. I have always been proud of the basic joy that people at CCNY take in that communion. As we take action in this case, let us reinforce what is good and strong in our community. I promise not to neglect my duty to act in this case.