Vice President of Finance of the Cornell Political Union Brendan Dodd ’21 stepped down from his post on Wednesday afternoon. Dodd said he chose to resign after CPU responded to conservative speaker Jannique Stewart’s allegation of “VIEWPOINT DISCRIMINATION” with a “disingenuous” and “deliberately misleading” statement.
This week, the Cornell Political Union was accused of discriminating against Jannique Stewart, a conservative, Christian speaker, because of her religious beliefs. As CPU’s Vice President of Finance, I was present for all full executive board discussions related to the retraction of Stewart’s invitation, and I feel that it is my obligation to shed some light on the incident as neither Stewart nor the CPU executive board has been fully honest and transparent. Stewart was invited to speak to CPU on the topic of abortion. However, after researching her background and discovering her traditional Christian views on sexuality and marriage — namely, her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman — the executive board decided to cancel Stewart’s speech and attempt to find a less controversial speaker to discuss the topic. Contrary to her characterizations in a Facebook post, Stewart’s beliefs were not likened to supporting slavery or denying the Holocaust.
This was not the column I was expecting to write this week, but in a way, I’ve been ready to write this column my whole college career. I’m the daughter of two scientists, a feminist, a liberal and I’m pro-choice. However, there a lot of other things about me that you might not expect. For example, I also weep and pray at the thought of dead babies. Where the pro-life — or, more accurately, anti-choice — crowd and I differ is I don’t equate abortions with dead babies, and I certainly don’t equate Planned Parenthood with murder either.
A little over a month ago, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, confirmed what the American pro-life movement has recognized for years when she tweeted: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.” In the words of its own leader, Planned Parenthood is an organization that believes its primary purpose is to push for more abortion, full stop. This admission renders the decision made by the Class Councils of 2021 and 2022 to fundraise for Planned Parenthood at their Valentine’s Day Gala completely inappropriate and extraordinarily insensitive. Although the majority of Cornellians may favor abortion rights to one extent or another, there exists a great many of us who believe that the result of the procedure is the ending of a distinct human life deserving of dignity like any other. Despite my own strong feelings on the matter, I understand that in a diverse community such as ours, disagreement on this issue is inevitable. What I fail to understand, and what I object to, is the Class Councils’ reckless decision to spend money collected from each and every undergraduate via the Student Activity Fee on a fundraiser for such a deeply divisive organization — an organization that performed 332,757 abortions in 2018 alone.
The argument supporting sex-selective abortion relies on a racial stereotype that Asian-Americans want male rather than female children more than other ethnic groups, according to Prof. Sital Kalantry.
As a Lutheran pastor, I have protest in my blood. After all, Lutherans were the first “Protestants,” protesting articles of faith which we believed were wrong. In fact, the entire Protestant Reformation began with a public call for a debate when 95 Theses were nailed to a Wittenberg church door by an Augustinian monk who also served as a Roman Catholic priest and a professor at the fairly new college at Wittenberg. I was surprised to hear that a similar set of circumstances — a call for debate, eventually leading to protest — was fermenting at the Cornell campus. An abortion debate to be held this week at Goldwin Smith Hall, (jointly sponsored by organizations representing both sides of the issue), is being protested by the Cornell affiliates of Planned Parenthood.
Several high-profile individuals, including Vice President Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway, top advisor to President Donald Trump, addressed the crowd of thousands gathered for the March for Life on the National Mall.