The Sun spoke with President Martha Pollack, Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi, Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services Rick Burgess, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Presidential Advisor for Diversity and Equity Avery August and Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina about Cornell’s reopening plan and anti-racism initiatives.
President Trump last week signed an executive order that links federal research and education grants for colleges and universities to their unwavering commitment to “[promoting] free inquiry.” Translation: The long-standing progressive censorship game at colleges and universities is now over. Universities and colleges will immediately cease shutting down, impeding or permitting the disruption of conservative speakers, or now risk losing billions of federal research dollars that are generously given away each year to these institutions of higher learning. It is unfortunate that such an order has become a confrontational stance on America’s campuses, but academia has sadly reached that point. Young America’s Foundation, for instance, favorably settled a lawsuit over this precise issue with the University of California, Berkeley last December. UC Berkeley, facing a constitutional challenge to its speaking protocols, agreed to abolish its “high-profile speaker policy” and speaking fee schedule while implementing a policy that ensures that heckling protesters will no longer be permitted to shut down speakers on campus.