Taking Trayvon Martin's Name in Vain

UPDATE: Students at a Cornell fraternity house are accused of racially taunting Black students by calling them the dead teen's name. The fraternity has since been placed on interim suspension.

Posted: 05/08/2012 05:31 PM EDT

Is Trayvon Martin's name the new N-word?  

According to reports, people at the Sigma Pi fraternity house at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, racially taunted Black students as they walked past the frat house early Sunday morning, calling a woman "Trayvon" in an insulting manner.

Cornell Chief of Police Kathy Zoner said "people were reportedly making racial references,” writes the Cornell Daily Sun, and throwing objects at pedestrians from the roof of the house.

Writes the Sun:

Beverly Fonkwo ’14 said she was walking home with a friend when, unprovoked, the group on the fraternity roof began throwing objects that landed near a group walking behind them.

When the people walking behind Fonkwo asked them to stop, the people on top of the fraternity continued to throw objects — including a Jack Daniels [bottle] that landed near the group behind and an unopened beer can that landed near Fonkwo and her friend — she said.

When they asked them to stop again, the group responded, “‘Come up here, Trayvon,’ and started making all these other racial comments,” Fonkwo said. A Black teenager from Florida, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in February — a death that was widely perceived as unprovoked and galvanized African American activists across the country.

“I feel like it was targeted and racially motivated … we felt very threatened,” Fonkwo said of the incident Sunday. Meanwhile, the assailants “were just laughing at the whole situation until we called the police and then they ran inside,” she said.

The president of the fraternity has apologized for the incident and said the person making the comments is not a member of Sigma Pi. His name is expected to be turned over to the police.

Read the full story here.


Update: The Sigma Pi fraternity has been put on interim suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.


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(Photo: UPI/HO/Landov; SigmaPi.org)

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