Tom Rochon: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tom Rochon protest, ithaca college protest

Ithaca College students are calling for Tom Rochon’s resignation. (YouTube)

Nearly a thousand Ithaca College students participated in a big walk out, seeking the resignation of Ithaca College President Tom Rochon. The protest started following a launch of a no confidence vote, with claims that Rochon should be held responsible for what students are calling incompetent responses to racism on campus.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Hundreds of Students Participated in the Die-In Protest

Hundreds of students participated in the die-in protest by walking out of class and meeting at Freedom Rock on the Ithaca College campus. One student, Kyle D. James, posted live video of the protest on Periscope here. More than 300 students signed up on Facebook indicating that they were going to be participating in the protest, but an Ithaca Journal reporter said that more than 1,000 ended up taking part.

2. Students Are Livid About a Lack of Response to Racism Incidents on Campus

Students are livid about the college’s lack of response to systematic racism on campus, reported. Incidents include racially insensitive comments that were made by Public Safety officers during RA training. The training sessions occurred on August 18 and statements including dismissing concerns about racial profiling, where officers talked about threats from ISIS but didn’t mention that white males commit most college shootings and also didn’t address violence from campus police. On the same day but in a separate training meeting, a Public Safety officer said that he would shoot anyone he saw who was holding a BB gun, The Ithacan reported.

The second incident was a fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, hosting a Preps & Crooks party. The event was later cancelled. Another incident that sparked outrage was a Blue Sky Reimagining campus event in early October where students were asked to help create ideas about Ithaca College’s evolution. At that event, two alumni referred to an African American panelist as a “savage,” USA Today reported.

3. They Are Demanding that Rochon Step Down From His Position as President

Ithaca College protest

During the protest, Ithaca College students demanded that Tom Rochon step down as president. (Periscope/Kyle D. James)

The protest was held to demand that Rochon resign from his position as President of Ithaca College. It’s now common to hear students chanting “Tom Rochon! No Confidence!” around campus. Students have also started the hashtag, #POCatlC, to support the campus group People of Color at Ithaca College. Faculty members have posted display signs on their door showing their support, too, USA Today reported.

4. Faculty And Students Are Seeking a No-Confidence Vote for the President

Students and faculty are seeking a no-confidence vote for Tom Rochon. The Student Government Association sent out an email asking for a vote of confidence or no confidence by November 30, USA Today reported.

In late October, Rochon held a meeting called “Addressing Community Action on Racism and Cultural Bias.” POC interrupted the meeting, took over the stage, and half of the people in attendance walked out with them. Rochon continued the meeting after they left.

5. Tom Rochon Has Been President of Ithaca College Since 2008

Tom Rochon, Ithaca College protest

Students and faculty from Ithaca College want a no confidence vote in President Tom Rochon. (YouTube)

Rochon has been president of Ithaca College since 2008. Rochon shared a statement with USA Today about the recent incidents, which included in part:

Every institution has room for improvement, and we are thankful that the students are sharing specific and vital issues they would like addressed. We hear them, and are committed to partnering with our students, faculty and staff to make IC the strongest institution it can be.”