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.
As Democrats celebrate taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in a decade, they soon will confront a lesser understood political reality: Campaigning is much easier than governing. Having wrongly convinced some Americans that implementing a single payer healthcare system that has worked nowhere in the world and rolling back tax cuts that have sparked an economic renaissance will benefit them, they are now on the hook to work within a divided federal government to forge consensus and deliver results — or face almost certain political decimation by President Trump in 2020. There was no “blue wave” last evening. There was, instead, a message to the Trump administration that there remain many Americans still hurting in this nation even though every economic metric is pointing upward, including gross domestic product, employment, job creation and finally positive news in the third quarter this year that wages are inching upwards. The damage done to America’s poor and middle class by Obama administration policies cannot be underestimated.
“The University, through its current policy — intentional or not — imposes additional financial and administrative costs on groups wishing to host conservative speakers,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, president of the Cornell Political Union.
What is free speech? We often proclaim its importance, but rarely is it defined. Free speech is when everyone, yes everyone, has the ability to speak and be heard respectfully. Shouting down speakers we disagree with is antithetical to free speech. In an academic environment such as Cornell, it is of fundamental importance to engage in various debates and to allow for a variety of opinions.