What Calling it a Hate Crime did to Cornell

You knew what I was talking about, didn’t you?

You knew what I was talking about because that is how the incident was approached in on-campus conversation, publication, and demonstration. We can all agree that what happened in Collegetown was sickening. It was an abhorrent display of the worst that Cornell has to offer. Despite all of that, it is not our prerogative to decide whether it was a hate crime or not. You and I are neither judge nor jury, and we should not be irresponsibly commenting on a matter that we do not fully understand.

Until he is tried for, and convicted of a felony hate crime, I will be keeping my thoughts to myself. I urge you to do the same. The principle that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty seems to be a forgotten aspect of the American criminal justice system on this campus.

A hate crime is defined as “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence”. Unless the prosecution can prove that Greenwood did it because the victim was black, he is going to walk away with a misdemeanor assault charge.

I will now take this opportunity to remind everyone that it doesn’t matter what you think about what happened. The decision is the court’s.

Another issue with inserting personal assumptions and opinions is the hypocrisy of “assuming the worst.” Those on the left oftentimes feel that conservatives are too hasty in labeling atrocities an “act of radical Islamic terrorism.”. They claim that without complete information, it is wrong to assume and label. Yet, here we are on the other end of the stick, unfailingly calling the incident a “hate crime” without strong evidence or conviction.

An unforeseen consequence of such hasty language was the fueling of a fire that already had the campus ablaze following the Zeta Psi “build a wall” ordeal. Ask yourself if the reaction would have been as strong if the incident hadn’t been immediately branded. Would students be calling for ending the greek system? How about a resolution to ban hate speech or (my favorite) calling Cornell “a microcosm of hate in the world.” In any subset of 20,000 people, there are bound to be evil, bigoted people. That does not mean that Cornell itself is an inherently racist institution.

I find it hard to believe the campus would be as inflamed and emotional if the incident had just been reported as it has been charged. John Greenwood is an a**, and I hope he pays for what he did, but a full blown condemnation of one-third of the campus isn’t the answer. If the real issue is racism on campus (as most people would claim), then the methodology is all wrong. Most people know that racism is wrong, and those that don’t aren’t going to change their minds because you dismantle greek life and host a sit-in.