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Cornell Statement on Alex Atkind

There's incredible outcry surrounding the Alex Atkind story that we picked up yesterday morning. Elliott Back posted a lovely picture from Facebook of Atkind doing a keg stand, and inferred that Atkind is associated with a fraternity, leading to "indisputable proof that the Greek system is full of idiots." Meanwhile, the Ithaca Journal and Elmira Post-Gazette both have message boards that are full of angry Cornell students, Ithacans, and animal lovers nationwide expressing their shock and anger over the story...

Somebody dug up some information on Atkind's parents and his home address, claiming that Atkind's father is a doctor associated with Harvard Medical School, and are encouraging people to contact the Boston media. Others have written to the University, demanding Atkind's expulsion. Tommy Bruce and Simeon Moss are issuing a formal statement regarding the incident:

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your concerns the press stories regarding the abusive behavior perpetrated against a dog. We are distressed by this reported behavior and find it totally unacceptable and abhorrent, if true.

Because this incident happened off campus, the matter was investigated by the Ithaca Police Department. We understand that IPD arrested the student in question and the case is now pending in the Ithaca City Court. Because the matter is an Ithaca Police matter and pending in court, we defer to the Tompkins County District Attorney for further comment about the criminal process.

Normally, the Campus Code of Conduct does not cover actions that occur off-campus. We are monitoring the case downtown and will make judgments as we gather additional information to determine if the University may appropriately take action in this matter as well.

So there's hope that the University will be able to take action on this issue.

From here, the conversation spirals downward. Some are making threats on Atkind and making sweeping statements regarding the behavior of all Cornell students. Both are unfortunate repercussions of the incident. If the allegations are true, Atkind deserves psychiatric help, not a taste of his own medicine.

And while there are admittedly some Cornell students who are arrogant, rude, and inconsiderate (more than I would care to admit, many coming from affluent east coast suburbs), they are unfortunately a visible minority on a campus filled with some of the nicest, most genuine, and loving people I have met in my life. I doubt that the distribution of personalities at Cornell differs significantly from that of society as a whole...

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on March 17, 2007 (#)

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