ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University issued a statement on Friday denouncing tweets made by a chemistry professor on Thursday evening justifying the actions of Buffalo Police Department officers who were seen, in a video that has since gone viral, pushing an elderly man to the ground causing him to hit his head and bleed from the ear as officers walked past him.
Professor David Collum, responding to a tweet calling the video “appalling,” disagreed, saying that the man was “feeble” and that his “cracked skull was self-inflicted.” because he failed to give the police space. Collum went on in subsequent tweets saying that the man looked like he may have been holding a taser.
Cornell University issues a statement Friday saying that, while Collum “has a right to express his views in his private life,” that the school has an obligation to “call out positions that are at direct odds with Cornell’s ethos.”
“Especially at a moment at which this nation is grappling with the vital need to implement reforms that end police brutality, we find Professor Collum’s comments to be not just deeply insensitive, but deeply offensive. The right of assembly and the ability of citizens to peacefully protest are fundamental to our society. Cornell is founded on a vision of a university, and by extension, a world for “any person” and the hatred and violence in this country stands in the way of that vision, particularly as it so disproportionately affects Black people and other people of color.”
Collum, reached by the Voice on Friday afternoon said that he was told not to comment.
“My personal natural instinct is to speak up, but the venom is to be respected in this case,” said Collum in an email.
Collum, who has since locked his twitter account, evidently made other comments on twitter Thursday. Cornell students created a Change.org petition on Friday calling for the professor’s resignation.