Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Ann Coulter speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The University has reportedly invited Coulter back to campus, just a year after students heckled Coulter off the stage during her last speaking event.

March 10, 2024

SUN EXCLUSIVE: University Has Reportedly Invited Ann Coulter ’84 Back to Campus 

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Ann Coulter ’84, a controversial conservative media personality, has reportedly been invited back to speak on campus by the University more than a year after protestors taunted her off stage. Multiple on-campus groups are considering whether to help host the potential event. 

Nadine Strossen, a free speech advocate who formerly served as the president of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Sun that a formal invitation has been extended to Coulter on behalf of the Cornell administration.

“She has accepted [the invitation] in principle. … She has turned it over to her speaker’s bureau to negotiate important details,” Strossen said. “I know she wants to come.”

The decision to bring Coulter back began to materialize after Strossen discussed the idea with Provost Michael Kotlikoff in January at the Board of Trustees meeting in New York.

In the meeting, Kotlikoff responded immediately by saying, “‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’” according to Strossen.

Kotlifkoff did not respond to a request for comment.

These developments come during Cornell’s free expression theme year. In an April 2023 press release announcing the theme, President Martha Pollack wrote that “learning from difference, learning to engage with difference and learning to communicate across difference are key parts of the Cornell education.”

On Nov. 10, 2022, Coulter was heckled off the stage at an event organized as a joint effort by The Leadership Institute, a conservative nonprofit, and the Network of Enlightened Women, a campus group for right-wing women, with help from members of Cornell Republicans. Students in attendance chanted, “Your words are violence!” and “We don’t want your ideas here! Leave! Leave!” 

At least eight people were removed from the venue for disrupting Coulter’s speech, with police and security ushering out students yelling phrases such as “Go back to the circus, Ann” and “no KKK, no fascist USA.”

Coulter was never able to complete her speech, leaving her scheduled hour-long event just 20 minutes in.

Students hold signs to protest Ann Coulter’s ’84 controversial speaking event on campus. (Jason Wu/Senior Sun Photographer)

The 2022 Coulter event was supported by the Cornell administration, who refused to cancel the event and aided security efforts.

Coulter, who helped found The Cornell Review, a conservative news source, in her time at Cornell, has a long history of making bigoted remarks against minority groups including South Asians, Jews, Muslims and immigrants

Prof. Randy Wayne, plant science, a leader in the Cornell Heterodox Academy — an organization that aims to increase the diversity of thought in academia — said his organization is considering co-hosting this event but a decision has not yet been made. 

Carl Neuss ’76, a Board member of the Cornell Free Speech Alliance, an organization that promotes freedom of expression, also mentioned that if Coulter were to come back, the CFSA would be supportive of the decision.

Jason Wilkins, who leads the Independent Caucus of the Cornell Political Union, explained that CPU, a political organization that aims to host individuals of diverse political thought, has not yet decided definitively on whether to co-sponsor the event. However, members of the organization are currently deliberating on the topic with the Cornell administration, he added. 

Wilkins mentioned that many prominent conservative groups on campus have already declined to co-sponsor the event.

According to Wilkins, the Independent Freedom Caucus, a conservative student group, has tentatively agreed to co-sponsor a Coulter event.

Tyler Unrath ’24, who serves as president of the Independent Freedom Caucus, declined to comment.

Wilkins explained how there has been internal CPU pushback from both leftwing members and the Independent Caucus.

Wilkins said that he is actively pushing back on the prospect of Coulter returning to campus.

“I don’t believe that [Coulter] brings anything substantive to political discussion or political thought on campus,” Wilkins said. “Personally, I believe she is a racist and a rather odious personality, so I firmly have no interest in cosigning or underwriting her speech in any form.”

Wilkins said that he will likely resign from his position if CPU decides to co-sponsor Coulter’s return.