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Less than half of Ithaca College students demand resignation of president for racial response

It’s refreshing when students take to the polls, rather than the president’s office or an ironically named “safe space,” to demand institutional change.

At Ithaca College, that poll revealed that student sentiment about President Tom Rochon is far from uniform.

The Ithacan reports that 54 percent of the student body responded to an email poll asking for their views on Rochon, who has allegedly not responded sufficiently to racial incidents on campus: a black alumna being called a “savage” at a panel discussion (after she said she had a “savage hunger” for her career), and a planned frat party with a “Perps and Crooks” theme.

While 72 percent of responding students voted “no confidence” in Cochon and 27 percent voted they have confidence in him, only 39 percent of students who received the poll – 2,695 out of 6,907 – have expressed a desire for Rochon’s resignation.

The demographic voting totals also suggest a fair amount of selection bias, meaning populations upset with Rochon voted in disproportionately large numbers.

Using the school’s enrollment figures by school and gender, opposition to Rochon is most fervent outside business and hard science and among women:

School of Business: 52 percent response rate; 42 percent no confidence

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance: 60 percent response rate; 60 percent no confidence

School of Humanities and Sciences: 62 percent response rate; 82 percent no confidence

School of Music: 63 percent response rate; 79 percent no confidence

School of Communications: 65 percent response rate; 77 percent no confidence

(Graduate students not broken out)

Voting by gender is harder to calculate because Ithaca doesn’t give a breakdown among graduate students, who were also polled, but it suggests women voted at a higher rate.

Men voted 62 percent “no confidence,” with 1,520 voting. Total undergrad men are approximately 2,600. Women voted 79 percent “no confidence,” with 2,228 voting. Total undergrad women are approximately 3,500. (Ithaca has 460 grad students.)

The school doesn’t publicly track students by ethnicity, so there’s no context for this Ithacan stat:

There were 744 African, Latino, Asian and Native American respondents, and 86.83 percent voted no confidence in Rochon, while 67.71 percent of the 2,741 white students voted no confidence.

Dominick Recckio, student government president, focused on the 72 percent “no confidence” vote among all respondents:

“If 70 percent of the people that you are supposed to lead don’t believe in you, it’s time to go, and it’s time to go fast,” Recckio said. …

“You can bet your $58,865 dollars that I am going to do everything that I possibly can to remove President Rochon from his office as president of Ithaca College as soon as possible,” he said.

He’ll have an opportunity Wednesday when his executive board meets with the chair and vice chair of Ithaca’s trustees. Faculty started their own vote on Rochon Monday, and polls will close Dec. 11.

Read the story.

h/t Cornell Daily Sun

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.