The University issued a statement Thursday responding to a new video from Project Veritas, which shows a Cornell Title IX investigator shredding the Constitution after an undercover reporter posing as a student called it “triggering.”
The statement, from Joel Malina, vice president for University relations, said the Cornell employee responded “appropriately” to the reporter who “misrepresented herself as a student with a mental health crisis.”
This most recent video targeted not only Cornell but also Yale University, Syracuse University, Vassar College and Oberlin College, where employees of each University agreed to destroy copies of the Constitution after a reporter posing as a student in crisis called the document “oppressive.”
“Is there any way that maybe like we can get rid of it somehow or I can just see that like maybe it will be like therapy for me, like if you can like shred it or something?” the reporter asks in the video.
Responding to the student who claimed to be traumatized by the document, Cornell Title IX investigator Elizabeth McGrath said the Constitution “means different things to different people,” conceding that she believes it is a “flawed document [written by] flawed individuals.” Under the reporter’s urging, the video then shows her shredding a copy of the Constitution.
“Using a shredder, scissors and bare hands to destroy the U.S. Constitution makes you stop and think: where did we go wrong?” said James O’Keefe, president of Project Veritas, in a Thursday statement. “In this latest investigative series, we have been to five schools so far and the results have been frightening at each one.”
Malina said the video falsely portrays a Cornell employee as “denigrating” the Constitution and making a political statement, when in fact McGrath was only attempting to assist a student in crisis.
“Whatever personal views she may have shared in order to connect with a ‘student’ who appeared to be in crisis, as an employee of Cornell University she was appropriately focused on addressing the apparently urgent need of the person before her and not on any larger political context,” Malina said.
The video was the second released by the group Project Veritas targeting Cornell. In March, Project Veritas released an undercover video which showed Joseph Scaffido, assistant dean for students, agreeing that a club could send care packages to “freedom fighters” and would allow would a “freedom fighter” to conduct a “training camp” on campus.
“You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training on a sports team or something,” Scaffido said in the video.
Some people consequently claimed this meant Cornell would support an “ISIS club.” In a statement, President Emeritus David Skorton called the video “shoddy journalism” and said the idea that an ISIS club could exist at Cornell was “ludicrous” and “offensive.”