Cornell Pres. Martha Pollack Pays Lip Service On “Open Inquiry & Free Speech” In Fall 2022 Keynote Address To New Students. However, in 2022, FIRE ranks Cornell’s “Free Speech Climate” 154th out of 203 US universities surveyed. After a full year of efforts by CornellFSA requesting action by the Cornell Administration to strengthen Free Speech & Open Inquiry at the university, we are most pleased to report that Pres. Martha Pollack chose “Free Speech On Campus” as the topic of focus for her very recent Fall22 “Annual Address To New Students”. CornellFSA was both surprised and extremely pleased with this result – which validates all the efforts which CornellFSA has made over the past year. This result is a consequence of the national media coverage CornellFSA has brought to expose the current Monoculture and Thought Orthodoxy at Cornell and elsewhere (i.e. from WSJ, Washington Post, Newsweek, National Review, FOX News, Washington Examiner, and many other media outlets) and the various requests CornellFSA has made to Pres Pollack to change Cornell Policy on certain important free speech matters. Yet, despite Pres Pollack's recent address, FIRE's student survey reports that 88% of Cornell students feel compelled to "self-censor" on-campus and FIRE rankings show that Cornell's free speech environment languishes within the "bottom quartile" of the 203 US universities surveyed. Thus, Pres Pollack's recent address represents little more than sound-bite “lip service” from the Cornell PR department. However, CornellFSA can now hold the university accountable to Pres Pollack’s statements by continuing to support the Cornell student / faculty push for Cornell's adoption of the "Chicago Principles" as its Free Speech Policy (see Cornell Daily Sun article below). Congratulations to all CornellFSAers who have contributed to pushing Cornell University to finally declare "Free Speech" a university goal ! It is a beginning for CornellFSA's work to transform Martha Pollack's PR statements from "lip service" to "reality".
Sample Press Coverage :
Pres Pollack’s “Newfound Focus” On Free Speech :
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.
Lincoln Bust Being Reinstated At Uris Library. In the summer of 2022, Cornell faculty and alumni discovered “The Cancellation Of Abe Lincoln” -- i.e. the removal of the marble Lincoln Bust (1865) & Gettysburg Address facsimile (Cornell owns an original address in Lincoln’s own hand) at Cornell rare manuscript’s library after an apparent “single” student complaint -- which apparently considered Abraham Lincoln a symbol of "systemic racism" in America. Sadly, Cornell University readily capitulated to this cynical and distorted view of American history and its greatest President. Witnessing this appalling Cornell failure to defend the university's time-honored values, CornellFSA supporters took timely action and brought pressure on Cornell President Martha Pollack and the Administration via faculty & alumni mobilization and heavy news media coverage. The Cornell Administration attempted an untruthful cover-up in the press. But with the commitment of CornellFSA supporters, Pres Pollack and the university were exposed and, ultimately, caved in – after being soiled by the false and intentionally misleading Cornell “official cover-up" stories issued by Cornell University Relations -- which attempted to deny, and then hide, the cause of the bust's removal. These official Cornell statements have now been repudiated via press and faculty & alumni investigations. THE RESULT : On 9/29/22, it has just been announced by the university that “Old Abe” will be reinstated in a new and more prominent display at Uris Library. CONGRATS to CornellFSA supporters who made this happen ! Cornell still endeavors to hide the reasons for its cancellation of Lincoln and its reprehensible actions -- hoping no more questions will be asked. However, the media and CornellFSA continue efforts to illuminate the facts related to this embarrassing episode for Cornell -- and the weakness demonstrated by Cornell's leadership. See the below “before” and “after” news articles on the Lincoln Bust cancellation -- which media reporting resulted in Cornell’s reversal and reinstatement of Abe Lincoln :
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. As requested, CFSA maintains strict confidentiality regarding subscriber names and contact information. Please subscribe today !
Join faculty, students, staff, and alumni from Cornell and these leading universities in the fight to preserve free expression and academic freedom on campus :