Read Paul's bio and previous columns


September 29, 2008

At Cornell, Academia’s ‘Inclusiveness’ Again Censors Conservatives


In 1968, 50 student militants at Cornell University, my alma mater, stormed the offices of the Economics Department and took the department chair hostage because he had praised the achievements of Western civilization. The university administration found that the militants had been victims of “institutional racism” and thus spared them appropriate punishment.


A few months later, members of the Afro-American Society (AAS) took control of another campus building in order to put it to AAS use. Then, during the 1969 Parents’ Weekend, up to 100 militants invaded the student union, followed by beatings and death threats. Soon thereafter, firearms and munitions were brought in to assist the militants in their actions.


Not only did the Cornell administration swallow the high building repair costs and refrain from pressing charges, but it also offered the student militants assistance in potential lawsuits filed against them. To make things worse, it permitted the militants to keep their guns and parade them across campus. And to further reward the radicals’ repulsive behavior, the administration granted them, among other things, a black residence hall on the Cornell campus.


Several years and various events later, in 1993, Hispanic radicals invaded the administration’s building by swinging bats, injuring police officers and occupying the building for days, all because they wished to be as segregated from the rest of campus as the black students were. Of course, the administration rewarded this behavior as well by creating the Latino Living Center, a dormitory for Hispanics.


In 1997, the Cornell Review, the school’s conservative paper, published material that was not to the liking of leftist radicals, who blocked traffic and built a bonfire from hundreds of copies of the Review. The Dean of Students at the time, John Ford, denied the Nazi-style burning of the Review until a picture came out of him standing near a burning pile of the paper. Soon thereafter, Cornell’s president at the time, Hunter Rawlings, used his commencement address to condemn not the illegal and dangerous censorship efforts of the radicals, but the staff of the Review.


As recently as three years ago, militant environmentalists opposing the replacement of some brush with a campus parking lot invaded the university president’s office, and later took to the trees in order to prevent their removal by construction crews. President Rawlings again rewarded the illegal and dangerous behavior by signing a compromise with the radicals literally in a tent under the trees.


This fall, the Cornell Review again dared to publish pieces that do not satisfy the campus Left’s taste. Having realized that burnings and de-funding efforts do not work very well (the Review is no longer financed by student activity funds), the radicals proposed to the student government that the word “Cornell” be taken out of the “Cornell Review.” Apparently Cornell’s motto, “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds” should be supplemented with “for anyone ideologically stuck between Bill Clinton and Joseph Stalin."


After much debate (not about whether to take action against the Cornell Review but about what kind of action to take), the student government instead opted for a resolution condemning the Cornell Review for causing “alienation and intimidation,” and asked that the campus code of conduct be amended to prevent “hateful terminology.” They decided against changing the paper’s name not because it was a ludicrous idea, but because such action “would not do enough to make Cornell a more welcoming and inclusive campus.”


And how exactly would banishing Cornell’s sole print voice of half the ideological spectrum make the campus at all more “inclusive?” It somehow makes perfect sense in their heads.


Now, this is a campus that has seen a number of violent attacks, including armed takeovers of buildings, all of which were rewarded. It’s a campus that sees regular discrimination against conservative students, unpunished interruptions of conservative events and physical attacks against conservative speakers. It’s a campus where young conservative women who attend the “Cornell Women’s Resource Center festival” find themselves surrounded by games such as “Dildo Bowling” and “Pin the Clit on the Cunt.”


This is a campus that proudly provides dormitories for blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans who actively self-segregate and refuse to live with people of other races.


And unfortunately, it is a campus that reflects much of academia today. Cornell Review alums have put it best: “Ivy League liberals like to think they are champions of freedom and academic liberty, but when faced with an opinion with which they disagree, they turn into Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, without the charm.” It is unfortunate, but true.

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI132. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Bob Franken
Lawrence J. Haas
Paul Ibrahim
Rob Kall
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Bob Maistros
Rachel Marsden
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Jamie Weinstein
Brett Noel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
Cindy Droog
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
D.F. Krause