Isabelle Jung/Sun Graphics Editor

April 18, 2024

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Ann Coulter ’84 Demonstrates Her Worthless Ideas

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Re: Ann Coulter ’84 Appearance Leads to Faculty Arrest (news, April 17) 

To the Editor: 

I commend Dina Shlufman, Matthew Kiviat and Benjamin Leynse for their story on Ann Coulter’s most recent visit to Cornell. In simply reporting the event, they demonstrate the worthlessness of Coulter’s ideas in a university setting as well as the problem in the administration’s understanding of “open inquiry.”

Cornell emphasizes the diversity of its student body. That diversity includes our many international and first-generation students, but Coulter sees that diversity as a threat; she titled her talk “Immigration: The Conspiracy To End America,” a title so intentionally ridiculous that it’s impossible to take seriously. In her talk, she offered an immigration policy based on eugenics: that “bringing millions of people from incredibly backward cultures” ultimately “blocks out other countries where we might be able to get the ones who are smarter, taller, more athletic.”

Professor Randy Wayne called Coulter’s comments “reasonable, evidence-based [and] clear. You could disagree with it, but it was civil.” There is no civility in referring to “incredibly backward cultures” or in forwarding eugenic beliefs; nor is there factuality in the claim that the United States blocks immigrants from Coulter’s preferred countries. These are the extreme rantings of a propagandist who expresses white-nationalist preferences in exchange for money and fame.

Despite that, Provost Michael Kotlikoff again defended inviting Coulter, saying that “Cornell values free and open inquiry and expression and strives to create a community where diverse opinions can be expressed.” I think Kotlikoff misunderstands the value of open inquiry at the University. It does not mean platforming people whose ideas wouldn’t pass five minutes of basic scrutiny in a university classroom; it doesn’t mean platforming a speaker whose ideas insult the lives and work of Cornell’s students, staff and faculty.

That said, I do see a good reason to invite Coulter to Cornell. She is, after all, a Cornell alum, and it’s worth asking how this university produced someone so averse to the values of the University and so in love with the values of fascism.

— Charlie Green, Senior Lecturer, literatures in English