Someone posted racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in a bathroom in one of the academic buildings at SUNY Cortland.
The vandalism was reported last Wednesday and prompted college President Erik Bitterbaum to send a note to students, faculty, and staff.
Bitterbaum said University Police are investigating and the graffiti was removed.
Bitterbaum said there’ve been a number of blatant displays of bias and disrespect toward the campus community recently, and reminded that these actions will be met by the most severe sanctions available.
To quote his letter, “free speech does not mean an opportunity to be uncivil or demeaning to others.”
SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum’s letter:
To the Campus Community,
It is with considerable disappointment that I am reaching out to you today to make you aware that racist and anti-Semitic graffiti was recently discovered in a bathroom stall of one of our academic buildings. The offending marks have been removed and an investigation by University Police is ongoing.
I, like many of you, think of SUNY Cortland as a place where we pride ourselves on the diverse community that we have and strive toward having an inclusive campus climate comprised of people who treat each other with mutual respect and kindness.
Clearly, however, we are not immune to vile displays of hate.
We are fortunate to live in a country that honors freedom of speech. However, that privilege should not be interpreted as an opportunity to be uncivil or demeaning to others. Stated simply, we must treat each and every person with respect and tolerance.
Recently a number of blatant displays of bias and disrespect have been directed toward members of the campus community. On behalf of the College, I want to remind you that actions of this nature will not be tolerated on the SUNY Cortland campus and will be met with the most severe sanctions available.
Our College prides itself on being a place where all students can pursue their career dreams in an environment of safety and support.
It is imperative for all students, faculty, and staff to treat each other with compassion, civility, and respect. We are one College community—we must work together to achieve mutual understanding.
Erik J. Bitterbaum