Help. It's me, Touchdown. The Cornell Daily Sun has trapped me inside their website. It's cold. It's dark. They'll be back soon. Please get me out of here, before it's too late.

Touchdown, who I can assure you is in a better place now, models the t-shirt for the soon-to-be-announced 'Right to Bear Arms' theme year.

April 20, 2024

After Wildly Successful Freedom of Expression Theme Year, Pollack to Announce ‘Right to Bear Arms’ Theme Year

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Throughout Cornell’s Freedom of Expression theme year, students have felt that now more than ever, Cornell is an institution that embraces expression, protest and dissent. 

“This is the best year for students and faculty to express themselves in Cornell’s history, especially with recent policies,” said Martin Pollock ’26. “Regulating loudspeakers, for example, really allows our actions to speak louder than our words because otherwise we’ll be arrested.”

In the wake of this resounding success, University administrators have decided on next year’s theme — the right to bear arms.

President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff formulated the idea on a February getaway to Cancun, Mexico with U.S. Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

While reflecting on the success of the Freedom of Expression theme year on a white sand beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Smith encouraged the University administrators to continue looking to the U.S. Constitution for inspiration.

“Cornell’s celebration of the First Amendment has greatly improved the campus climate,” Smith said. “Why not move on to the second?”

Smith asked Pollack and Kotlikoff to consider establishing a “Right to Bear Arms” theme year for the 2024-2025 academic year.

“We’ve found that Cornell, more than many universities, does a poor job of affirming students’ Second Amendment rights,” Smith said. “You need to show students that their Second Amendment rights are an indispensable part of their academic experience.”

Cruz agreed with this assessment, explaining how Texas public universities allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus.

Under Texas Senate Bill 11 — passed in June 2015 — individuals with gun licenses are allowed to “carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person” while on a Texas public university campus. New York State, by contrast, considers possession of a firearm on university grounds a class E felony.

“You soft New York liberals are always talking about putting trigger warnings in class,” Cruz said. “In Texas, we aren’t afraid to pull the trigger without warning.”

In spite of these legal differences across state lines, Smith encouraged the administrators to think about ways that firearms could contribute to the educational experience — including through enacting concealed-carry policies similar to those in Texas schools.

When asked by The Sun how the University would handle instances in which the upcoming theme year proposals would run counter to New York State laws, Pollack explained why this is not a concern to University administration.

“I’m not afraid of Kathy Hochul or anyone in the New York State government,” Pollack explained. “As long as congressional Republicans are happy with what’s happening here at Cornell, I can sleep at night.”

Later, during a catamaran cruise, Cruz offered additional ideas for celebrating the Second Amendment on campus.

“All students learn from humanities classes these days is Cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory,” Cruz said. “Y’all don’t need the Arts Quad. Demolish it and put up a firearm superstore that accepts Big Red Bucks for students to learn to exercise their right to bear arms instead.”

Kotlikoff responded immediately by saying, “‘Oh, that’s a great idea.’”

Pollack, worried that Smith would write another letter and get her hauled in front of Congress, similarly concurred.

“If this keeps me out of congressional hearings, we should do it,” Pollack said. “If Elise Stefanik (R-NY) makes me explain to her what constitutes a call for genocide, I’ll have to resign.”

Kotlikoff told The Sun that the University planned to incorporate aspects of Cruz and Smith’s visions for the upcoming theme year.

“I think diversity of thought is very important,” Kotlikoff said. “Incorporating both of these distinct and diverse perspectives on our next theme year will ultimately improve the quality of the education that Cornell offers.”

Iona Gunn is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].