Dear Parents and Family Members:
The following letter was sent November 19 to our students by our campus President in response to the behavior that occurred this past weekend in the City of Cortland.
As President of SUNY Cortland, I was filled with happiness and pride after our football team’s last-minute victory over Ithaca College this weekend to take the Cortaca Jug for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year. Those feelings, however, quickly turned to disbelief as I returned to Cortland to find the streets filled with our students behaving in shockingly unacceptable ways.
I send this message deeply disappointed and fully committed to making sure the behavior of this past weekend is never repeated in the future.
The disrespect for the local community shown on Saturday was unacceptable. The destruction caused by some students and their guests was simply deplorable. And the potentially dangerous situations created for yourselves and for others defies understanding. This type of blatant disregard for the welfare of others cannot, and will not, be tolerated. Every possible step will be taken to fully prosecute those who have breached the law, through both the city court system and the campus student conduct system.
I have joined with city officials to create a task force to assess these types of unruly celebrations moving forward. I am confident that thoughtful input from both sides will result in a series of measures that will prevent this type of activity from ever happening again. Whatever course we embark upon, student input and support will be critical to our success.
I take great pride in telling people that SUNY Cortland is an institution that defines excellence, with students whose presence in the community is an asset. Over the last several days, however, I have shared the embarrassment felt by our alumni, our faculty and the vast majority of SUNY Cortland students over the unacceptable behavior of the weekend. Our reputation is the same reputation that will eventually carry you into your new careers as graduates. It is in your interest to work together with us to make sure this kind of ugliness does not publicly define your school.
The recovery begins now.
Erik J. Bitterbaum
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