A vice president of the Binghamton University Student Association has been the target of racist taunts from members of her own student government twice in the last week.

Last Sunday night, according to witnesses, Binghamton SA Vice President for Finance Alice Liou, who is Asian-American, was arguing with Elahd Bar-Shai, a member of the university’s Student Assembly, in the Student Association offices. After she made a disparaging remark about his appearance, he said he was surprised she could “see anything with those squinty eyes.”

At a meeting of the Student Assembly the following night, Bar-Shai, who last semester sponsored an SA constitutional amendment to eliminate the student government’s Vice President of Multicultural Affairs position, stood for election as chair of the Assembly, winning in a 14-11 vote.

After that vote, several of Bar-Shai’s supporters left the meeting, causing the Assembly to lose quorum. An SA officer followed them out, attempting to convince them to return, and the group’s discussion got heated. Eventually Liou became involved, and Assembly representative Mike Lombardi, a supporter of Bar-Shai, told her to “go eat a dog.” (In one account, he told her to “shut up and go eat a fucking dog.”) At that point, Liou says, she called him a “white bastard,” and had to be restrained by friends. 

Campus police were called to the Assembly meeting as a result of the disturbance, and the Binghamton administration is now investigating the incident, but no disciplinary action has yet been taken. Lombardi, who is the former business manager of the Binghamton Review, a conservative newspaper on campus, resigned from the Assembly on Wednesday. 

A group calling itself “A Coalition of Angry Students” is planning a protest rally on campus this afternoon (Facebook Event page here). They are demanding that Bar-Shai and Lombardi “be suspended for a semester, stripped of their SA positions and sign written apologies” to Liou.

May 4 update: This post is still getting a lot of hits, and I’ll be following up as I get more information. In the meantime, if you attended the Saturday protest, or have other news to share, please leave a comment or send me an email.

May 5 update: The Student Assembly ousted Bar-Shai as its chair at a meeting last night.