ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University Police continue to investigate an assault late last week that involved racial language and sent two people to the hospital. As police continue to investigate, officials say they will not “simply brush this episode aside.”

Officers responded to a reported fight at 1:30 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Eddy Street and Dryden Road in Collegetown. After arriving, police learned that a male Cornell student was verbally harassed with “racial epithets” and physically assaulted by an unknown man.

Two students reportedly stepped up to stop the attack but were also assaulted. Two victims were transported to Cayuga Medical Center for treatment of their injuries. The third person did not require transport, police said.

The two students have been treated and released from the hospital, the university said in a news release.

In a joint statement, Cornell University President Martha Pollack and Vice President of Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi said if found that a Cornell student is responsible, they will be held accountable by the university’s code of conduct in addition to criminal proceedings.

“We wanted to make sure you heard about this directly from us and to know that we will not simply brush this episode aside, nor will we let it deter us as we continue to strive for a more just, equitable and inclusive campus. As we stated last fall, all of us who abhor such acts must speak out against injustice, racism and bigotry. We must reach out and support each other and continue the difficult work of building a community grounded in mutual respect and kindness,” the statement read.

In the fall, Cornell created a 36-member Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate with the aim to make the university a more inclusive community. The decision to create a task force comes after another racially charged incident occurred in September and other incidents.

Cornell student John Greenwood was charged with attacking another student and using racial slurs. He has since been charged with a hate crime and is awaiting further court proceedings.

Police continue to search for the suspect of Saturday’s crime. CUPD Deputy Chief David Honan said Cornell Police are still actively investigating the crime, however he said they are not able to provide further details at this time.

“The victims have been discharged from the hospital. Due to privacy and protected medical information, we will not be releasing any further details about them. We are happy to report that we have received some information from the community and will be investigating those tips further,” Honan said in an email.

The suspect is described as a 5-foot-9-inch tall man with dirty blond hair wearing a red and white ball cap and a New England Patriots hooded zip-up jacket. The suspect was last seen heading south on Eddy Street.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Cornell Police Investigations via email at cup-inv@cornell.edu or by phone at 607-255-1111. Information can also be provided anonymously via the silent witness system at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=6357

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.