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Update: Cornell Student Charged in Alleged Racially-Based Attack Apologizes

By Staff –



(Update, Sept. 21) – Nineteen-year-old John Greenwood, a white Cornell student charged with beating a black student, apologized Thursday for language he’d used during the alleged racially-based attack.  

Greenwood said in a statement that he had been involved in a “verbal exchange” he regretted, and that he’d used language “that was completely unacceptable and inappropriate.”

Previously, Greenwood’s lawyer had said he was not involved in the altercation.

Greenwood is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 27.

(From Sept. 20) – Fraternity Psi Upsilon has closed its Cornell University chapter, after a black student said he was beaten and called racial slurs by members of the fraternity.

Police are currently investigating the matter as a hate crime.

“I will not tell you ‘this is not who we are,’ as the events of the past few weeks belie that,” Cornell president Martha Pollack said in a statement. “But it is absolutely not who we want to be. The leadership team and I have been working throughout the weekend, and we will continue to do so, to develop and implement steps to be a more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming university.”

According to reports, the victim said he had attempted to break up a fight when a group of white men started using the n-word.

The unnamed victim said he was then repeatedly punched in the face when he confronted the men.

Authorities said one suspect, 19-year-old Cornell student John Greenwood, has been charged with third-degree assault, and other charges are pending as they continue to investigate the matter, “including the elements that this assault was based on racial bias.”

Police have not yet said whether Greenwood was one of the individuals who used the racial slur, and Greenwood’s lawyer has said his client was not involved in the incident.

Greenwood is slated to appear in court on Sept. 27.

The national chapter of Psi Upsilon has released the following statement, in part, regarding the matter:

“Our thoughts are with the young man who was assaulted, and all the students at Cornell who are affected by this atrocious crime. The purpose of Psi Upsilon Fraternity is ‘United in Friendship, Psi Upsilon members aspire to moral, intellectual, and social excellence in themselves as they seek to inspire these values in society.’ The crimes reported on the evening of September 15th are in opposition to these values, and have no place in Psi Upsilon Fraternity, or at any college campus.”

Cornell had reportedly suspended the fraternity’s recognition on campus in 2016, for violating the Ivy League university’s code of conduct.

According to Pollack, the university has no plans to reinstate the fraternity.

“Please speak out against injustice, racism and bigotry, and reach out to support one another,” she stated. “Ours must be a community grounded in mutual respect and kindness.”

Visit to view Pollack’s full statement.

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