Following calls for President Martha Pollack’s resignation, The Cornell Board of Trustees unanimously voted in support of Pollack’s leadership, according to a public statement released Saturday, Jan. 27.
The Board of Trustees’s verdict defending Pollack follows Jon Lindseth ’56, emeritus member of the Board of Trustees and large donor to the University, releasing an open letter to Board of Trustees Chair Kraig Kayser MBA ’84 and the entire Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Jan. 23 condemning President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff’s leadership throughout antisemitic incidents on campus.
Lindseth further denounced the University’s “misguided commitment” to diversity, equity and inclusion which has “yielded not excellence but disgrace.” According to Lindseth, DEI policies at Cornell suppress academic merit, free expression and viewpoint diversity.
The Board of Trustees, however, affirmed steadfast confidence in both Pollack’s leadership and the University’s commitment to DEI initiatives.
“Cornell was founded on the principle that ‘any person can find instruction in any study,’” the statement reads. “Under President Martha E. Pollack’s leadership, the University has remained faithful to this principle and to the core values that unite our institution.”
Cornell’s trustees met in New York City on Friday and Saturday, with the vote regarding Pollack’s presidency occurring on Saturday, according to the statement. At the point Lindseth sent the letter, he said that he was still waiting for a response from Kayser regarding adding his calls for resignation to the agenda for the meeting on Friday.
In his letter, Lindseth labeled the Friday meeting as an “emergency board meeting.” But Joel Malina, vice president for university relations, attested that Board of Trustee meetings are scheduled several years in advance and the weekend gathering was “part of a regularly scheduled series of meetings to discuss University affairs” in a previous statement to The Sun.
The faculty-elected members of the University Faculty Committee and the University’s faculty trustees also affirmed their unanimous support for President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff’s leadership in a statement to The Sun.
“We believe that the president and provost continue to represent the best interests of our community of students, faculty and staff in navigating the complexities of current social and political times and in supporting the academic mission of our University where ‘any person…any study’ is our lived motto,” the faculty-elected members of the University Faculty Committee and the University’s faculty trustees wrote.
The statement also argued that freedom of expression and academic freedom can be pursued simultaneously with the University’s core principles, while tensions can be addressed in civil dialogues.
“We strongly reject calls for a change of leadership at Cornell University,” the group added.
Update, 1/29, 8:10 p.m.: This article has been updated to include a statement from the faculty-elected members of the University Faculty Committee and the University’s faculty trustees.