The following message was sent to the SUNY Cortland community on Thursday, March 18, by President Erik J. Bitterbaum:
Members of the SUNY Cortland community,
In the wake of rising anti-Asian discrimination and hate crimes across the nation, I am reaching out to reaffirm the university’s commitment to equity and inclusion and to condemn violence of any kind rooted in racial or ethnic identity. We stand in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American communities and will continue to work to make our campus a safe and welcoming institution for all people. Over the past year, Asians and Asian Americans have been the victims of increased racism and xenophobia. Stop AAPI Hate, an online tracker created by several Asian American groups, has recorded more than 2,800 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans between the start of the pandemic in December 2020 and the current month. Most recently, police are investigating the murder of eight people in the Atlanta area – six of whom were Asian – as a possible hate crime, although the suspect has denied that was his motivation. Our hearts go out to victims’ families.
Racist and violent behavior against Asian, Asian American, and the Pacific Islander communities must stop. Scapegoating, harassment and hate must stop. I know I can count on the SUNY Cortland community to set an example of anti-racism for all educational institutions. Regardless of our differences, we are all Red Dragons.
All the best,
Erik J. Bitterbaum
President, SUNY Cortland