On February 1, 2016 Cornell University placed the Psi Upsilon fraternity on interim suspension following sexual assault allegations against then-president, Wolfgang Ballinger, ‘17.
In September of 2017, an African-American Cornell student said he was punched in the face by a white man linked to Psi Upsilon as he called him racial slurs in the middle of Collegetown. President Martha Pollack said the university would not allow Psi Upsilon to return to campus.
The former Psi Upsilon house located at 2 Forest Lane has been vacant and under renovation since the revoking of the fraternity’s official status in 2016. Despite the tragic events that have occurred, Cornell is pushing forward in order to make use out of the now-vacant fraternity house.
I recently reached out to John J. Carberry, the Senior Director of Media Relations at Cornell University, and Lindsey Hadlock, Media Relations Specialist at Cornell, to discuss the upcoming plans for the former house of Psi Upsilon.
Mr. Carberry said, “as Vice Presidents Ryan Lombardi and Fred Van Sickle noted in their Sept. 19, 2017 statement, the Psi Upsilon alumni Board of Governors announced its intention to complete renovation of the property at 2 Forest Park Lane in 2018-19, and then open it for use by student organizations dedicated to promoting a diverse and inclusive community.”
He continued, “it is important to note that, while we welcomed the pledge by that alumni board, no process has been established and no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of the property. The house is currently under renovation and will not be available this year. Sometime before the house reopens, Cornell will begin a process to explore the future use of the location, an effort that will include input from the campus community.”
While the property had a negative association, the plans for the house in the future are filled with positivity and inclusion. Even though no final decisions have been made for the renovations of the house it is clear that Cornell is doing all that it can to make the camus a more welcoming place for everyone.
In a statement, Vice President of Student and Campus life at Cornell Ryan Lombardi and Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development at Cornell Fred Van Sickle said, “we appreciate this gesture by Cornell alumni of Psi Upsilon to help promote healing in our community and we will work with their Board of Governors in the coming months to finalize their intent and make plans for the future use of the property at 2 Forest Park Lane.”
Even though members of Psi Upsilon have made unforgettable and irreversible mistakes the fraternity as a whole is trying their best to repent for the actions of some of its members. Cornell hopes that by creating a Center for Diversity and Inclusion out of a building that used to harbor just the opposite, they can help the community to heal.