MARGULIES | There Is No Them, There Is Only Us

I have been at Cornell for 10 years and in academia for two decades and have never seen so many students in so much distress. A great many Muslim and Arab students feel unseen, unheard and unsafe. More recently, their ranks have been swelled by the many Jewish students who feel the campus has become menacing. And of course, the person suspected of sending the sickening anti-Semitic postings is Asian, so we gird ourselves for a wave of anti-Asian hate.

Meanwhile, there was a report last week of a man carrying a gun just off campus, and armed security officers began to patrol White Hall, where I work and which houses the Government Department and the Department of Near Eastern Studies. There was an arson recently in the bathroom down the corridor from my office. CUPD says the report of a gunman was “unfounded,” but the officers remain.

The pain is not identical for all who suffer; pain never is. Jewish students feel anew what Muslim and Arab students have felt for some time. It is a sense of isolation that gives way to insecurity and fear. But it is sharper for being newly felt, and their trauma is real. Muslim and Arab students are reminded every day of their distinct marginalization. As I wrote this, President Pollack released another statement: “[O]n Sunday night, shortly after we learned of the threats, I went to sit with our Jewish students at the Center for Jewish Living and I returned the next morning with Governor Hochul, and for dinner that evening. It was so heartening to spend time with our students, who expressed strength and resilience even in the face of these awful threats.”

Originally posted 2023-11-08 06:05:54.