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Ithaca College president resigns after protests over race issues

After months of protesting at Ithaca College in New York, then followed by votes from students and faculty this past fall, has finally lead to the resignation of Ithaca College’s president. Thomas Rochon will step down as president of the school in July 2017.

Students protested the lack of action taken by the school’s president regarding racist incidents on Ithaca’s campus; calling for Tom Rochon’s resignation with staged “die-ins” and other events. Other colleges also protested racial incidents including Yale, Claremont McKenna, Princeton and Towson. In protest, students marched, occupied administration offices, and presented a list of demands.

Ithaca’s faculty was unhappy as well, with 67% voting no confidence in Tom Rochon.

Rochon issued a statement on Ithaca College’s website saying he was proud of the accomplishments made during his nine (9) years at the college.

“At the same time, I recognize that colleges evolve through eras defined by new opportunities and challenges” he wrote. “I believe it is best for IC to be led in the future by a president chosen by the board specifically to make a fresh start on these challenges, including those that became so apparent to us all last semester.”

“I look forward to working with the college community over the next 18 months in a constructive and collaborative way, making progress on issues of diversity and inclusion, shared governance, and decision making. I also want to work toward reestablishing a stronger and more unified sense of the educational vision and cultural values that make Ithaca College so distinctively excellent. I am fully committed to working toward these outcomes and urge the community to join together to help prepare the college to attract a highly qualified leader to succeed me.”

One of the incidents that sparked the protests involved an invitation to a fraternity party that offended many students who felt it linked “crooks” to stereotypes of African-American culture:

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