ITHACA, N.Y. — An incoming Cornell University freshman and football recruit has been removed from the team after a video of him using a racial slur was posted to social media.

A video, which began circulating on Twitter June 21, showed Nathan Panza, who is set to attend Cornell University in the fall, saying, “F— that n—–. Oh wait, you can’t post that.” Adam Giaquinto, an incoming Richmond University freshman, was behind the camera and said, “You George Floyd looking mother f—ing n—–.” Panza responds, “That’s f—-d up, you can’t say that,” to which Giaquinto replies, “Exactly, that’s why it’s not going anywhere, n—–.”

Andy Noel, director of athletics and physical education at Cornell, said that Cornell football was made aware of the video early on June 21.

“After viewing it, head football coach, David Archer, made the decision to rescind the individual’s offer to join the team in the fall,” he said. “There is no room for this behavior in Cornell Athletics.”

Panza was admitted to the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, but there is no word about his admission following the video because the university does not publicly comment on admissions decisions. 

John Carberry, senior director of media relations and news at Cornell, said that the university’s administration is reviewing the matter.

Richmond University has also stated that it is investigating the matter. 

Panza and Giaquinto are recent graduates of Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey. Morristown-Beard issued a statement June 21 condemning the language used in the video.

Panza did not respond to a request for comment from the Voice.

“I plan to better educate myself on the issues of racism and injustice in America, as I want to be part of the solution and not the problem,” Panza wrote to the Cornell Daily Sun. “The label ‘racist’ is not something I can live with and I will work to prove that every day for the rest of my life. It is my humble hope that I will come out of this incident as a better ally, better friend and better person.”

A petition calling to expel Panza was made June 23, citing the university’s plans to resume in-person instruction in the fall.

“We the student body propose a simple additional measure: Expel freshman Nate Panza over his public use of the N-word on social media,” the petition states. “With only 6,701 single and double occupancy rooms, 153 isolation beds, and 366 available classrooms, we must be more judicious than ever before as to how that space is allocated, and to whom we extend the privilege of occupying that space. Here is a simple yet elegant opportunity to reduce the load on our system by 1.”

Cornell Students for Black Lives, a student organization, posted on Instagram calling for Cornell students and alumni to contact the administration about Panza’s admission to the university.

One of the email templates states, “As a Cornell student, I’ve seen examples of racism across the campus that all too often reflect Panza’s actions– horrifying behavior executed in forms that can be kept quiet and not reach a wider audience. I’ve also heard many Black students in recent weeks discussing such microaggressions and how these actions contribute to their feelings of alienation at Cornell. How can a school that prides itself on having an “any person, any study” environment allow students like Panza to plague its campus and infringe on the experiences of its Black students? Similarly, how can statements from President Pollack and the Athletics Department about combating racial injustices be taken seriously if our administration is unwilling to condemn students like Nathan Panza?”

The Instagram post also addresses David Collum, a chemistry professor at the university, who earlier in June wrote a tweet justifying the actions of Buffalo Police Department officers who were seen pushing an elderly man to the ground, causing him to hit his head and bleed from the ear. The university has since issued a statement denouncing Collum’s words. Collum has stepped down as director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department, but is still employed at the university.

On June 23, Collum tweeted the Cornell Daily Sun’s article about Panza, writing, “The Daily Collum. Nothing new here, but just another jab…”

Madison Fernandez

Madison Fernandez is a contributing reporter at the Ithaca Voice. You can reach her by email at mfernandez@ithacavoice.com.