ITHACA, N.Y. — The Cornell University student charged with attacking a student and using racial slurs has apologized for his actions in a statement to media Wednesday.

John Greenwood, 19, has been charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault and second-degree aggravated harassment. He is accused of taking part in a fight that may have been racially motivated. Ithaca police are still investigating whether the incident was a hate crime.

Related: Court records: Witnesses say white men provoked fight, attacked at least 3 Cornell students and yelled racial slurs

The assault occurred early Friday morning in Collegetown. At about 1:30 a.m., police responded to the 300 block of Eddy Street for a reported fight.

The incident has ignited anger and action at Cornell University. On Wednesday, hundreds of students marched on Willard Straight Hall.

In a statement, Black Students United at Cornell said, “The continual assault on the mental, physical, and emotional health of Black students, will no longer be tolerated. BSU is fully prepared to work with organizations and task forces to dismantle the deeply rooted structures of white supremacy on this campus. We wish to work toward devising an effective, inclusive, accurate, and educational training program that can be implemented university-wide, for staff, faculty, and students.”

Greenwood emailed a statement to the media apologizing for his actions. Ray Schlather, who is representing Greenwood, confirmed Wednesday the email came from his client. Greenwood said he was “involved in a verbal exchange which I deeply regret” and used language that was “completely unacceptable and inappropriate.” He said the language did not reflect his values or who he is.

The full statement, which initially came from a Gmail account, read:

Last Friday, I was involved in a verbal exchange which I deeply regret.

I used language that was completely unacceptable and inappropriate; language that neither reflects my values nor who I am.

For that, I accept full responsibility and sincerely apologize to my fellow students, the entire Cornell community and my family and friends.

Looking ahead, I am committed to doing everything I need to make things right.

In the fullness of time I am confident that the truth of what happened will be clear.  However, even a full exoneration cannot justify my use of such abhorrent language.   

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.