Yes, folks, once again, it's time for the time-honored Cornell tradition of playing up "bias-related incidents" to appease certain segments of the Cornell community. This time, everyone on the University e-mail system received an alert about a charge of "menacing in the third degree as a hate crime." The Cornell University Campus Police (which somehow have the acronym CUPD) issued a "Crime Alert" on 26 January, detailing the nature of the incident. Upon reading the report, one thing seems clear to me - the key words within it are not "racial slurs," but "planks and bats" and "chased...to the footbridge at the west end of Beebe Lake." If the report proves to be true, there is no question that an offense was committed here, as the students in the truck appeared to attempt to initiate force against the two walking students. But if their words were only racial slurs, then those words are irrelevant to the investigation and prosecution of the crime. To me, the racial slurs uttered do not have any bearing on what the white males intended to do - only on why they intended to do it, and that's not pertinent. I'm not saying that motive is not an element of a crime; I am saying that no motive (particularly the privately held thoughts of a person) should be valued more highly than another (in terms of the degree of a crime) in the criminal justice system.
I anticipate you can expect the following things in the near future:
A front page, above the fold story in tomorrow's (Wednesday's) Cornell Daily Sun, which will no doubt serve to inflame opinion within the "minority" community, as well as an editorial sympathetic to the "plight of the minority sectors of the University community", or some similar statement;
A statement from the University, something to the effect of "we're doing everything we can to purge racism and bigotry from the campus" (i.e. control the thought of the student body); and
If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of whoever heads the Latino Living Center, protests. Lots of protests.