Cornell student slams ‘hostile’ campuses: We’re paying a fortune to be indoctrinated
Cornell University junior Talia Dror and Yale University senior Gabriel Diamond discuss the surge in antisemitism on campuses across the nation.
Cornell University is facing mounting pressure to end its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and for the school’s president to resign, following a top donor’s fiery letter to the school’s board of trustees, Fox News Digital has learned.
“Replace the President and the Provost,” Cornell major donor and trustee emeritus Jon A. Lindseth wrote in a letter Tuesday as the top item Cornell’s board of trustees should address.
“Eliminate DEI staffing and programming. Revert to Open Inquiry, Academic Freedom, Free Expression, and Viewpoint Diversity on campus,” Lindseth wrote as the second item that needs to be addressed by the board.
Fox News Digital learned that as of Thursday, the letter was mailed to each trustee, and will likely be fresh in their minds as they head into an emergency board meeting on Friday, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News Digital. The trustees’ calendar shows they are scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday in New York City.
HARVARD SWARMED BY TRUCK BILLBOARDS CALLING FOR PRESIDENT TO RESIGN IN WAKE OF UPENN FALLOUT
Cornell University alumnus and major donor Jon A. Lindseth penned a scathing letter against the school’s president and DEI initiatives. (Matt Burkhartt/Getty Images)
Lindseth is requesting the board include calls for Cornell President Martha Pollack to resign as part of their meeting agenda on Friday.
The letter was also sent directly to the trustees’ chairman, Kraig Kayser, who is reportedly having conversations about it, but has not responded to Lindseth, the source said.
“For nearly seven years, I have strongly supported President Pollack, and that support remains strong today,” Kayser said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital on Thursday. “The board is working effectively with the administration to respond to various challenges facing higher education and opportunities to advance the university’s mission.”
The lengthy letter goes into detail how Lindseth, who has been one of the school’s largest donors for several decades, is “alarmed” by the university’s embrace of DEI initiatives across all academic fields. He cited reports that the school is “hiring faculty based on race rather than academic merit,” as well as reports of “failures to support faculty members choosing to exercise free expression and academic freedom.”
TRUCK BILLBOARDS CALLING FOR PENN PRESIDENT’S FIRING CIRCLE CAMPUS AFTER ISRAEL REMARKS
“I am proud to count myself one of several generations of Lindseths who are Cornell alumni and invested donors, but I am alarmed by the diminished quality of education offered lately by my alma mater because of its disastrous involvement with DEI policies that have infiltrated every part of the university,” he wrote.
A woman walks by a Cornell University sign on the Ivy League school’s campus in Ithaca, New York, on Jan. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)
“Today, the instruction Cornell offers is in DEI groupthink applied to every field of study. The result is a moral decay, some call it ‘rot,’ that falls in line with prevailing ideology and dishonors basic principles of justice and free speech,” Lindseth added.
Lindseth has halted donations to the school “until the university reformulates its approach to education by replacing DEI groupthink.”
The source told Fox News Digital that since the letter was sent, and subsequently reported on by numerous media outlets, Lindseth has received an outpouring of support. Students, professors and parents have reached out to thank him for sounding the alarm on DEI initiatives to the board, adding that they didn’t feel like their concerns were being heard until he weighed in.
Lindseth took issue with a handful of initiatives the university has rolled out in recent years, which has led to a “toxic” school environment.
STEFANIK APPLAUDS RESIGNATION OF UPENN PRESIDENT LIZ MAGILL: ‘ONE DOWN. TWO TO GO’
“A new campus ‘bias reporting system’ fosters a hostile Orwellian environment among neighbors, classmates and colleagues reporting on one another. The elimination of grades and SATs has created a system in which equal outcomes rather than proven merit has become the objective. This is disastrous for a research university that is built upon academic achievement and aims to educate and train some of our country’s leading scientists, architects and engineers,” he wrote.
Students are seen outside Goldwin Smith Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, on April 11, 2023. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Lindseth also criticized Pollack’s leadership following the killing of George Floyd in 2020 compared with her response to the attacks on Israel in October that have since spiraled into war between Israel and Hamas.
CORNELL UNIVERSITY REMOVES GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, LINCOLN BUST FROM LIBRARY AFTER ALLEGED COMPLAINT
“President Pollack’s shameful recent response to clear acts of terrorism and antisemitism compared with her swift and strong response to the George Floyd tragedy demonstrates that Cornell is no longer concerned with discovering and disseminating knowledge, but rather with adhering to DEI groupthink policies and racialization,” he wrote.
Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations, confirmed in comment provided to Fox News Digital that the letter was received by the school and provided to the board of trustees.
“We have received the letter, which has been forwarded to the chair of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. Cornell’s trustees are gathering in New York this week as part of a regularly scheduled series of meetings to discuss university affairs. Board meetings are scheduled many years in advance,” Malina said, referring to the board meeting on Friday.
Lindseth’s letter to the board this week is supported by the Cornell Free Speech Alliance, a group of alumni, professors and students promoting the First Amendment on campus, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Cornell President Martha Pollack, left; Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell Tech; and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attend a ceremony to mark the opening of the new campus of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City on Sept. 13, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The letter comes after two other Ivy League presidents — Harvard’s Claudine Gay and the University of Pennsylvania’s Liz Magill — resigned in recent weeks after delivering controversial remarks to Congress on whether calls for the genocide of Jews break their schools’ codes of conduct.
UPENN PRESIDENT ATTEMPTS TO WALK BACK CONGRESSIONAL HEARING TESTIMONY RHETORIC: ‘PATHETIC PR CLEAN UP’.
Both then-presidents were pressed by New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in December to answer if “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the respective school’s codes of conduct, and responded that such a determination would be made depending on the threat’s context.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Lindseth’s letter was first published by the Ivy Excellence Initiative, a new effort launched by nonprofit educational network the Common Sense Society. The Ivy Excellence Initiative was rolled out just last week, and works to bring “together alumni groups, dissident faculty, and frustrated donors to hold their universities accountable to pursuing true academic excellence and open inquiry,” according to its press release.
The Ivy Excellence Initiative also added a section on its website on Thursday afternoon where people can send notes of encouragement to Lindseth amid his fight to end DEI curricula and initiatives at Cornell.
Fox News Digital’s Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.