Is the Cornell Promise Being Kept?

“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

Ezra Cornell
University Founder, 1865

Ruth Bader Ginsburg On Free Speech

“The right to speak my mind out, that's America to me -- the right to think, speak and write as we believe without fear that Big Brother will retaliate against us because we don't tow the party line.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Cornell '54
Associate Justice / United States Supreme Court

Today's Cornell Reality

“Students do not feel comfortable expressing their opinion on sensitive topics due to fears of social ostracism and especially from fear of punishment from the administration.”

Anonymous Graduate Student
Cornell University Graduate School
April 2017

Today's Cornell Reality

“Today, many faculty members, students, and staff live in a state of fear at Cornell. If they hold the wrong view, mob justice on campus may be unleashed against them. ”

Professor A. Richard Baer / Emeritus
Cornell University
October 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“(With the) intolerance of meaningful debate...the risks and penalties are tangible...from shaming and ostracizing, to fear of loss of tenure and jobs for professors…”

Professor Stephen Ceci
Cornell University
May 2018

Today's Cornell Reality

“Cornell leadership has failed to stand strong in recent free speech controversies. Denouncing a professor while asserting that no disciplinary action will be taken due to job protection tells students, staff and faculty lacking such protection that they are at risk. This further imposes ideological conformity on campus.”

Professor William A. Jacobson
Cornell University
October 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“We write as a group of liberals frustrated with the current campus hostility towards free speech and open dialogue.”

Ben Feldman / Cornell '22
Liberal Caucus Of The Cornell Political Union
August 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“We are actively discouraged … from engaging in intellectual discussion in favor of regurgitating talking points that professors give us.”

Jessica Reif / Cornell ‘13
The Cornell Forensics Society

Evidence Of The Cornell Monoculture

“99.5% of Cornell Faculty, Academics’ Donations Given to Left-Leaning Groups.”

The Cornell Daily Sun
November 2018

Today's Cornell Reality

“Undergrads are exposed to less viewpoint diversity than ever before in the history of this country... This is a very rapid change which has profound consequences for everything that happens at the university. ”

Professor Jonathan Haidt
New York University

Today's Cornell Reality

“Differences should be what the university is most about – not just differences in how people look, but in how people think.”

Julius Kairey / Cornell ‘15
The Cornell Forensics Society

Today's Cornell Reality

“Cornell … will not benefit if it becomes known as a place that is hostile to academic freedom.”

Dr. Peter Wood, President
National Association of Scholars
July 2020

Today's Cornell Reality

“(Cancel Culture) is a striking illustration of the threat woke ideology poses to our culture, our institutions, and to our freedoms....We need to confront totalitarianism before it causes disaster -- while it is still possible to do so. ”

Professor Dorian Abbot
University of Chicago
October 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Faculty viewpoint conformity contributes to a campus culture hostile to free expression. Viewpoint diversity should be embedded in the hiring process just as the university embeds other forms of diversity.”

Professor William A. Jacobson
Cornell University
September 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Cornell is captive to a religious fervor which is intolerant of non-believers. The religion of identity politics and grievance culture now pervades Cornell and seems determined to stamp out viewpoint diversity and free academic inquiry. ”

Professor Richard A. Baer / Emeritus
Cornell University
September 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“(The University monoculture) treats unorthodox opinions as a heresy that must be punished...rather than as ideas to be evaluated and debated.”

Professor Steven Pinker
Harvard University

Today's Cornell Reality

“Professors, staff members and students are strongly discouraged from entertaining certain topics even privately, much less discussing them publicly on campus.”

Professor Wendy Williams
Cornell University
May 2018

Today's Cornell Reality

“What we are seeing on campus….is the idea that shaming people and shutting them down is somehow OK when espousing a leftist agenda.”

Professor John McWhorter
Columbia University

Today's Cornell Reality

“Under strong pressure to conform to ideological norms, 88% of Cornell students report self-censorship in class and on campus.”

Connor Murnane
Foundation For Individual Rights In Education (FIRE)
Cornell Student Survey / 2021 College Free Speech Rankings

Today's Cornell reality

“Cornell's monoculture distorts research. The study of American poverty is directly impeded. Only certain causes and solutions are "acceptable" avenues of study -- others are not. Free academic inquiry is shut down. ”

Anonymous Professor
Cornell University
October 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Private talks with faculty and students are shocking. An Orwellian atmosphere exists at Cornell. The campus is riddled with anxiety about saying the wrong thing or holding the wrong view. It is heartbreaking to see. ”

Board Member
Cornell Free Speech Alliance
September 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Once victimhood culture gets onto campus …and gets into the teaching, students are literally taught to see people as good or bad…This means there is eternal conflict and grievance. ”

Professor Jonathan Haidt
New York University

Today's Cornell Reality

“The most untrained eye can observe that ….. the university continues to endorse an abhorrent lack of (viewpoint) diversity.”

Raj Kannapan / Cornell ’13
The Cornell Review

Today's Cornell Reality

“Conformity of opinion … stifles not only speech, but thought…Scholars are afraid even to consider different ideas for fear they will run afoul of norms of thinking.”

Professor Robert George
Princeton University

Today's Cornell Reality

“DEI seeks to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups.... (This) discrimination rises to the level of ... excluding applicants from certain groups.”

Professor Ivan Marinovic
University of Chicago
August 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“The current situation at Cornell is alarming. The fear felt by faculty and students is palpable. With a repressive monoculture now dominating the campus, alumni appear to be the last best chance for the university to be brought back to balance.”

Board Member
Cornell Free Speech Alliance
September 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“There is repression and the tyranny of consensus ... where you don't have robust debate (on campus) because tolls are exacted from those who deviate.”

Professor Glen Loury
Brown University

Today's Cornell Reality

“The lack of ideological debate on this campus is extremely harmful to students.”

Jessica Reif / Cornell ‘13
The Cornell Forensics Society

Today's Cornell Reality

“A repressive campus culture ….. does not eliminate those with dissenting views. The goal is to win hearts and minds—not to cancel them.”

Sara Stober / Cornell '22
Liberal Caucus Of The Cornell Political Union
August 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“We are seeing the rise of a particular subgroup (on campus)… They’ve adopted a way that is vindictive….It’s about calling people out. People are afraid of them.”

Professor Jonathan Haidt
New Your University

Today's Cornell Reality

“The word "unsafe" is part of this bizarre, intolerant (university) culture...People are claiming to be unsafe if they hear any opinion they disagree with.”

Steve Pinker
Harvard University

Today's Cornell Reality

“There is no way to explain away the transparent contradictions between the university’s diversity policy and its supposed commitment to a competition of ideas.”

Raj Kanappan / Cornell ’13
The Cornell Review

Today's Cornell Reality

“A small group of radical students… are weaponizing their moralism and intimidating others into silence. This is now a huge problem on campus.”

Professor Jonathan Haidt
New York University

Today's Cornell Reality

“Woke ideology is totalitarian in nature. It attempts to corral the entirety of human existence into one narrow ideological viewpoint and to silence anyone who disagrees. ”

Professor Dorian Abbot
University of Chicago
October 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Faculty preach a very uniform way of thinking which is very clearly reflected in our classes and assignments.”

Jessica Reif / Cornell ‘13
The Cornell Forensics Society

Today's Cornell Reality

“Many Cornellians are scared to challenge the progressive status quo and speak in opposition to those pushing ideological conformity.”

Laura Jocelyn / Cornell ‘24
Liberal Caucus Of The Cornell Political Union
August 2021

Today's Cornell Reality

“Very few people know just how radically the (university) professoriate has changed….Students are much more afraid to speak up and disagree than they were 10 to 20 years ago. They are walking on eggshells. ”

Professor Jonathan Haidt
New York University

Encouragement For Cornell Faculty, Students & Staff Facing GroupThink

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
1884 - 1962
U.S. First Lady / Diplomat / Feminist / Humanist

Encouragement In The Struggle Against Cornell Monoculture

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Professor Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)
Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Rhode Island

Encouragement In The Struggle Against Cornell Monoculture

“It may be that a sleeping giant (the alumni) is finally waking up in response to the current push to remake the university system into one big indoctrination camp. ”

Jay Schalin
Director of Policy Analysis
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.
Cornell Daily Sun

Cornell Should Adopt the Chicago Principles

by Sara Stober / Cornell '22
Liberal Caucus of the Cornell Political Union
August 30, 2021

A little over seven years ago, the University of Chicago issued a report defending free speech on campus. Since then, over eighty institutions or faculty bodies have adopted the report and committed themselves to promote free expression. We write this letter to encourage Cornell to do the same.

Click here for link to full article

CFSA-FIRE Webinar: 1:00pm ET on October 21, 2021

Cornell University and Free Speech:
An Unauthorized Look at the Campus Climate

Register here

Webinar Announcement

Subscribe Now

If you are a member of the Cornell Community who wishes to preserve freedom of speech and open academic and intellectual inquiry at Cornell University, we urge you to subscribe to the CFSA Quarterly Update today by clicking on the below link. This no-cost CFSA subscription will keep you informed of ongoing matters at Cornell relating to free speech, viewpoint diversity, and academic freedom on campus. CFSA maintains strict confidentiality regarding all subscriber names and contact information. Please subscribe today !

Subscribe now