Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, New York
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Cornell University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Cornell University: Student Group’s Sign Display Removed from Engineering Quad

    October 20, 2008

    A pro-life student group’s university approved signs were confiscated by an administrator shortly after students erected their display. The signs contained information regarding fetal development. The students were forced to turn to the university police in order to regain their property because the administrator could not believe the signs could be approved given their “content.” Amazingly, the Cornell administration is defending this indefensible action, pretending that it was only a misunderstanding that caused the display to be confiscated and removed.

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Red Light Policies

  • Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education: Cornell Policy & Definitions 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with the individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment under any of the following conditions:

    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct either explicitly or implicitly is (a)made  a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status, or (b) used as a basis for an employment or academic decision affecting that person; or
    • the conduct is sufficiently (a) persistent, severe, or pervasive, and (b) has the purpose or effect of altering the conditions of an individual’s employment or academic pursuits in a way that a reasonable person would find abusive, hostile, or offensive.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include gender-biased or derogatory comments; sexual advances from a professor, supervisor, coach; or any unwanted physical or verbal sexual contact.

    Examples of sexual misconduct: … Someone caused you to feel uncomfortable by making gender-biased or derogatory comments in your residence hall, lab, dining hall, classroom, club, team, sorority or fraternity, or place of employment.


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Yellow Light Policies
  • House Rules 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Any behavior that disturbs another member(s) of the community can result in judicial action.

    Behavior in common areas should conform to the standards of the community as a whole. Loud, offensive, or lewd behavior or language directed at anyone (including staff) is not acceptable. Residents should exercise good judgment and demonstrate consideration of others when using common areas.

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  • Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    Bias activity is defined as an act of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation that occurs on the Cornell campus or within an area that impacts the Cornell community that targets an individual or group based on EEEO-protected status. Although bias is not always a violation of the law or of this policy, such behavior does impact the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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  • Event Registration Form 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Events that must be registered using the EventReg form includes (but are not limited to): … Events that take place outdoors. … Events that may be seen as controversial and/or high risk. … Events should be registered at least three weeks prior to the start date. Student organizations may be fined for late filing, or lack of filing a Event Registration form (see for more information).

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  • Student Organization Handbook: Registration of Events- Rallies 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The rally space is located on Ho Plaza between WSH and the Campus Store. To reserve this space, organizations must submit a request on-line at and complete the UUP form.

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Green Light Policies
  • Campus Code of Conduct: Regulations for the Maintenance of the Educational Environment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    To intentionally harass another person by … by acting toward that person in a manner that is by objective measure threatening, abusive, or severely annoying and that is beyond the scope of free speech.

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  • Campus Code of Conduct: Responsible Speech and Expression- Disruption of Invited Speakers 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Because it is a special kind of community, whose purpose is the discovery of truth through the practice of free inquiry, a university has an essential dependence on a commitment to the values of unintimidated speech. To curb speech on the grounds that an invited speaker is noxious, that a cause is evil, or that such ideas will offend some listeners is therefore inconsistent with a university’s purpose. One may argue against inviting a speaker on the grounds that the speaker has nothing of importance to say. But once members of the university community extend an invitation, others may not disrupt the speech on the grounds that they find it stupid, immoral, or dangerous.

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  • Campus Code of Conduct: Regulations for the Maintenance of Public Order 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    It shall be a violation of this Title: … to interfere with or attempt to interfere with the lawful exercise of freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceable assembly, or other right of an individual….

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  • Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Protected-status harassment, including sexual harassment, occurs when an individual is targeted with verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct based on that person’s EEEO-protected status that unreasonably interferes with the individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment. The conduct constitutes harassment under any of the following conditions: … The conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment or academic pursuits, and creates a work or educational environment that a reasonable person would find abusive.

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  • Responsible Use of Electronic Communications 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Federal, state, and local laws apply to the Internet and “cyberspace” just as they do to physical space. Using the university’s IT resources in a way that violates the law constitutes a violation of university policy.

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  • Students For Justice In Palestine Display At Cornell Repeatedly Vandalized

    November 13, 2014

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix The Cornell Daily Sun has a curious story about a school-authorized Students for Justice in Palestine display in the Arts Quad being vandalized. The initial vandalism appears to have happened because someone had internalized the idea that you can’t speak until you get permission. According to SJP activist Alec Desbordes, the Daily Sun reports, the 50 signs were up less than three hours “when a student — who declined to give comment to The Sun — pulled up several of the signs until she was confronted by members of SJP”: SJP’s blog post incorrectly […]

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  • C.U. policies could limit free speech

    September 2, 2009

    Student activism is a long-standing tradition at Cornell, and the University’s creed pledges full and equal protection of students’ rights; but there is a devil in the details. Cornell’s policies on harassment, tolerance, respect and civility contain so-called speech codes – “Trojan horses” embedded within University guidelines that limit the scope of free speech on campus. William Creeley, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, addressed this topic, and the overlying issue of students’ First Amendment rights, yesterday evening in Goldwin Smith Hall. “There’s a discrepancy,” he said. “They promise with one hand […]

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  • Backing expression over suppression

    October 27, 2008

    Especially in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign, free expression on college campuses remains a heated topic, with reports of student vandalism of political displays they don’t like, or administrations disinviting speakers who are deemed too controversial, surfacing periodically. Since students in college tend to be more liberal as a group than Americans as a whole, critics of higher education regularly charge that conservative views are more likely to be squelched by vandals or officials. But that’s not entirely the case: some Catholic institutions, for instance, have received flak or distanced themselves from pro-life speakers who support Barack Obama […]

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  • Schools discipline students over Internet content

    February 22, 2006

    Four Syracuse University students punished for trashing their teacher on joined the growing number of students nationally whose school has held them accountable for what they put on the Internet. “Criticism can be considered a matter of free speech. In this particular situation it was the content, and the content was considered as being reviewable as a possible violation of the university code of student conduct,” said Kevin Morrow, speaking for SU. “The language and the phrasing of these Facebook postings were extreme.” Some students use as their personal diary. They post pictures and information such as their […]

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  • Conformity on Campus

    June 1, 2005

    We hear a lot these days about the importance of diversity in ensuring that ideas are heard fairly. But the individuals who are most insistent about this are interested only in racial and sex diversity. Intellectual and ideological diversity is not what the enforcers of political correctness on campuses and other sectors have in mind. This magazine has helped pioneer evidence of how politically unbalanced most college campuses have become. Most recently (see our January/February 2005 issue) we presented the findings of University of California economist Daniel Klein, who found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in social sciences […]

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  • University reverses policy on faith groups

    May 13, 2005

    Nassau Hall has reversed its policy on the recognition of religious student groups after being contacted by an outside civil liberties organization that protested the treatment of one such group as an “ongoing injustice.” Under the new policy, religious student groups with ties to faith organizations without established “campus ministries” will be considered for official student group status using the same criteria as other groups. Previously, such student groups were denied recognition. The policy change allowed Princeton Faith and Action (PFA), a new evangelical group, to seek official student group status — which it was recently granted. PFA is affiliated […]

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  • No Myth: Conservatives in Academia Suffer Discrimination

    October 15, 2004

    In a recent Sun column, (“Reclaim Your Victimhood,” Sept. 24), Danny Pearlstein, skeptical of the notion that conservatives in academia suffer discrimination, challenged conservatives “to send me concrete instances” of such. As the French would say, “chiche!” — dare accepted. Pearlstein’s challenge was, at least from his perspective, ill-timed. For within 48 hours came a glaring example of anti-conservative discrimination at Cornell, courtesy of the Student Assembly(SA): The SA’s blatantly political attempt to defund The Cornell American, one of the very few conservative student groups on campus. The attempted defunding was done in reliance on a newly-adopted, ex post facto […]

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  • Beware of universities that wear diversity label

    April 14, 2004

    In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. Let’s look at some of it.The student code of Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania, said that students had a “right to express a personal belief system” but only if such expression did not “demean,” “annoy” or “alarm” others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in […]

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  • Cornell Students Forget Vandalism Is a Crime, Censor Pro-Palestine Display

    November 11, 2014

    Last month, Cornell University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter placed 50 signs critically highlighting Israel’s relationship with and policies affecting Palestine in the school’s Arts Quad. It took only three hours for a student to attempt to censor the group by removing the display. SJP members managed to stop this student, but others quickly took up where she left off. By the time the group decided to shut down the event three days later, most of the signs had been stolen or destroyed. SJP member Alec Desbordes spoke to Cornell’s student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, pointing out […]

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  • Cornell Conditions Student Group Funding on ‘Diversity and Inclusion Plan’

    May 12, 2014

    Cornell University’s Student Assembly (SA) has passed a resolution calling for scores of student organizations to demonstrate a plan to enlist membership that is demographically similar to the rest of the student body. According to Campus Reform, groups that do not submit a “Diversity and Inclusion Plan” will not be eligible for funding from Cornell’s Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC), which funds registered student groups on campus using mandatory student activity fees.

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  • Cornell Becomes Latest College to Incorporate “Two-Tier” Disciplinary Process Following OCR Mandate

    April 27, 2012

    Yesterday, I discussed the ramifications of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR’s) April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter for students at the University of North Carolina, which decided earlier this month to inaugurate a new “two-tier” disciplinary system to comply with OCR’s procedural mandates. Under the newly revised system, UNC students accused of misconduct like cheating, plagiarism, or drug and alcohol abuse will face a hearing using the “beyond a reasonable doubt” evidentiary standard employed in our criminal justice system, which has also traditionally been applied by UNC’s century-old Student Honor Court. In contrast, students facing serious […]

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  • FIRE Asks Cornell to Preserve Due Process

    April 11, 2012

    Yesterday, FIRE asked Cornell University President David Skorton to choose robust student due process rights over the weak evidentiary standard required by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In our letter, we argue that given the high stakes for students accused of sexual assault, they deserve much more than the “preponderance of the evidence” (more likely than not) evidentiary standard. Torch readers know that FIRE and many others have made this argument repeatedly, and in many forums, in the year following the release of OCR’s April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter. As we wrote yesterday, Cornell […]

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  • Cornell Grad Urges University Not to Abandon Protections for the Accused

    April 10, 2012

    Cornell University graduate Mike Wacker has an excellent column in today’s Cornell Sun on the debate at Cornell over complying with the Department of Education’s April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter (DCL). As FIRE has pointed out, the DCL strips important due process protections from students accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault. Wacker hits on many of the problems that Cornell students and faculty members are having with the idea that campus trials for these serious offenses will now be far less thorough and reliable than those for, say, vandalism.  The entire column is a must-read. After summarizing the […]

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  • Cornell Professor Finds Himself in Hot Water–An Ironic Reminder of the Value of Due Process

    April 30, 2010

    Grant Farred, an English and Africana Studies professor at Cornell University, has found himself under fire recently following a comment he made to two graduate students at a conference in February. Following the conclusion of a conference panel to which he had invited the students, both African-American females, to attend, Professor Farred allegedly said to them in private, “When you both walked in, I thought, ‘Who are these black bitches?’” When the students later told Farred that they were offended by his remark, he quickly apologized and stated that he meant no harm. It would seem that Farred was simply […]

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  • Following President’s Statement, Cornell’s Religious Student Groups Should Brace for Disparate Treatment

    April 15, 2010

    Last week, I discussed Cornell University President David J. Skorton’s response to Student Assembly Resolution 44, which proposes to revise Cornell’s non-discrimination policy to restrict the ability of student groups to require that their voting members and leaders actually share the group’s core beliefs. The resolution, which passed the Student Assembly by a narrow vote back in February, requires Skorton’s approval before final adoption. However, as he did when presented with a similar resolution in 2009 (after being pressed by FIRE), Skorton declined to assent to the resolution without requesting changes and commenting further. Now that a few days have […]

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  • Cornell President Responds to Student Assembly Resolution Limiting Freedom of Association

    April 6, 2010

    Cornell University President David J. Skorton issued a response yesterday afternoon to a Student Assembly (SA) resolution, narrowly passed in February, that seeks to limit the ability of student groups to require that their voting members and leaders actually share the group’s core beliefs. He has asked the SA to reconsider important parts of the resolution. Resolution 44, which requires President Skorton’s approval before enactment, states that student groups shall not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, height, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, […]

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  • Cornell Continues Befuddlement over Freedoms of Religion and Association

    February 22, 2010

    According to The Cornell Daily Sun, last Thursday the Cornell Student Assembly passed “Resolution 44,” which, the Sun reports, mandates that “All students—regardless of color, ancestry, gender identity, religion and a variety of other characteristics and beliefs—can now vote and hold leadership positions in independent student organizations.” While this sounds good on its face, FIRE has thoroughly explained that such a broad policy threatens freedom of religion and association because it threatens the right of expressive groups on campus with minority viewpoints to protect the expressive purposes of the group. (Central Michigan University got an object lesson about this problem in […]

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  • Former FIRE Intern John Cetta Speaks out for Freedom of Association at Cornell

    February 12, 2010

    Yesterday, Azhar wrote here on The Torch about the Cornell University Assembly’s (UA’s) decision this week to insert a new non-discrimination clause into the Campus Code of Conduct. As Azhar pointed out: Cornell has in the recent past used a non-discrimination rationale to deny a student organization, the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, the right to associate around shared beliefs. Last year, the Student Assembly froze the group’s funding because it removed a member from a leadership position after the student disavowed core tenets of the group’s beliefs. Given the misunderstanding of the freedom of association on Cornell’s campus, there is […]

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  • Cornell University Assembly Votes to Pass Disputed Non-Discrimination Clause in Campus Code of Conduct

    February 11, 2010

    Cornell University’s University Assembly (UA) voted yesterday to include a disputed non-discrimination clause in the Campus Code of Conduct, the Cornell Daily Sun reports. The new clause, which expands the category of classes protected against discriminatory harassment on campus, provides insufficient protection for campus speech insofar as it applies a substantive standard for student-on-student harassment that falls short of the legal standard for peer harassment in education. The approved clause is the UA’s second attempt to add new language about discrimination in the student code; a first draft was approved by the UA last April, but Cornell President David J. […]

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  • ‘Cornell Daily Sun’ Explores Important Freedom of Association Issue, Previews Upcoming Supreme Court Decision in ‘Martinez’

    January 20, 2010

    An article in yesterday’s Cornell Daily Sun, a student newspaper at Cornell University, discusses the conflict between student organizations’ freedom of association and their schools’ nondiscrimination policies that has been at issue on many college campuses in recent years. Sun reporter Dani Neuharth-Keusch discusses the issue as it relates to an episode right on Cornell’s campus last year as well as the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, for which FIRE will be submitting an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief. We’re pleased to see the Sun pay such close attention to Martinez and the […]

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  • How Students Made a Difference for Liberty in 2009

    January 6, 2010

    For the past few days FIRE has been looking back over our list of accomplishments in 2009. That list would not be complete without mentioning the students who have worked so hard to make their campuses more free. At the College of William & Mary, former FIRE intern and Campus Freedom Network member Braum Katz led a reform effort from within the student government as Student Assembly Secretary of Student Rights to revise all constitutionally problematic speech codes. In October, William & Mary eliminated the last of its troublesome policies and FIRE officially gave the college’s policies a green-light rating in […]

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  • In Pages of ‘Cornell Sun,’ Students Pen Strong Rebuttals to Misguided Editorial

    December 3, 2009

    Last week here on The Torch, I criticized the Cornell Sun for publishing an editorial that misunderstood the core importance of freedom of association and its integral relationship to freedom of expression. This week, I’m pleased to be able to highlight Cornell students authoring their own incisive critiques of the editorial in the pages of the Sun. First, let’s recap the controversy that prompted the editorial and locate precisely where the Sun went wrong. Last spring, Chi Alpha Christian fellowship, a Christian student group at Cornell, requested that a student abdicate his leadership position in the organization after the student’s […]

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  • ‘Cornell Sun’ Editorial Misunderstands Freedom of Association

    November 25, 2009

    A disappointingly misguided editorial in yesterday’s Cornell Sun argues that a recent vote by Cornell’s University Assembly to protect freedom of association on campus amounts to an endorsement of “discrimination.” Unfortunately, The Sun‘s faulty reasoning reveals a meager understanding of the right to expressive association—a right protected by the First Amendment and decades of Supreme Court jurisprudence. As Luke explained here on The Torch yesterday, the University Assembly voted late last month to scuttle changes to Cornell’s Campus Code of Conduct that it had recommended in April. The proposed changes sought to prevent student groups from “discriminating against” students by […]

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  • Cornell Assembly Scraps Illiberal Policy – For Now

    November 23, 2009

    The Cornell University Assembly has voted to remove part of a proposed policy in the Campus Code of Conduct that posed a significant threat to freedom of association. The Cornell Sun reports: After months of deliberation, the University Assembly passed a resolution this October to remove a clause from the Campus Code of Conduct designed to prevent special-interest student organizations from discriminating against certain groups in their criteria for membership. The resolution cited the need for more extensive debate on “the interplay of discrimination, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly” on campus. The policy was originally […]

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  • Former FIRE Intern Encourages Reform at Cornell University in Letter to the Editor

    September 24, 2009

    2009 FIRE intern John Cetta has an incisive letter to the editor in today’s Cornell Sun responding to an article in yesterday’s Sun, “Panel Explores Free Speech and Religion.” John contends that the debate over religious liberty is “far more significant” than a discussion in the campus chapel about abstract freedoms. It has to do with campus-wide policies on free expression and free thought for all students. Yesterday, The Sun chronicled the dialogue that took place over religious freedom at Cornell. This debate is far more significant and urgent than some friendly academic sparring taking place in Sage Chapel, however. […]

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  • Rights in the News: Class Back in Session for Violators of Campus Speech

    September 4, 2009

    Classes are barely in session, and already FIRE and its allies have hit the ground running. As Lukenoted earlier, Will was at Cornell University this week discussing the “Trojan horses” of campus speech codes, including the ones which have resulted in Cornell’s current “red light” rating on FIRE’s Spotlight. Read the Cornell Daily Sun’s coverage for more on the start of what promises to be a very busy year for FIRE’s speakers bureau. Brandeis University undergraduate Daniel Ortner and Cornell undergraduate John Cetta, meanwhile, are busy putting their 2009 FIRE internship experiences to use, evidenced by Daniel’s most recent column for The Brandeis Hoot and John’s piece for The D.C. […]

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  • Intolerance of Tolerance: Cornell University, A Model of Illiberalism

    August 6, 2009

    This blog entry was authored by John Cetta, a student at Cornell University and FIRE summer intern.  Cornell University’s disdain for free speech, due process, and other fundamental rights has been well documented and frequently commented upon since FIRE’s founding. Eleven years ago in The Shadow University, FIRE founders Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors described the denial of due process in the McCarthy-style inquisition of renowned Cornell psychology professor James Maas. Recently, FIRE criticized Cornell administrators’ lack of respect for the most basic free speech rights when an administrator, ostensibly acting under the guise of “unwritten policy,” attempted to censor the university-approved […]

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  • Introducing FIRE Intern John Cetta

    June 16, 2009

    John Cetta is a senior at Cornell University where he is studying Industrial and Labor Relations. He is the managing editor and a staff writer for the Cornell University Pre-Law Journal, contributes to the Roosevelt Institution’s Equal Justice Center, is the treasurer of Cornell Coalition for Life, and is a representative on the University Assembly. John is also involved with the American Cancer Society as a legislative ambassador. On his dedication to free speech and why he came to FIRE, John writes, Studying at Cornell has afforded me a deep appreciation for individual rights, especially freedom of speech. This appreciation […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Cornell University

    March 30, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at Cornell University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict free expression on campus. Since Cornell is a private university, not directly bound by the First Amendment, we must first examine whether students enrolling at Cornell would have a reasonable expectation of free speech rights. Cornell’s Campus Code of Conduct provides that Because it is a special kind of […]

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  • Weekly Media Round-up: National Media Takes Quinnipiac to School, With FIRE’s Help

    October 31, 2008

    The national media has officially descended on Quinnipiac University (QU), with FIRE’s early efforts to end the injustices visited on the Quad News and the QU chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) helping to pave the way. FIRE’s press release issued Wednesday helped to bring a new wave of attention to QU’s shoddy treatment of the newly formed Quad News, as well as the administration’s threats against the SPJ for associating with that independent publication. Law professor Eugene Volokh is only one of many to take notice of FIRE’s warning to QU; the Free Expression Network and the […]

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  • Weekly Media Round-up: FIRE’s Defense of Satire and Political Expression on Full Display

    October 24, 2008

    Earlier this week, FIRE blogged and issued a press release about Lone Star College–Tomball’s threats against the school’s Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) chapter for distributing a satirical and entirely protected “gun-safety” flyer. After pointing out the college’s exploitation of the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois as a way to silence protected speech, we also castigated the administration for contemplating punishing YCT with probation or outright dissolution. As Adam pointed out in plain terms, “there is simply nothing to investigate and not a single reason to censor.” Lone Star’s completely unreasonable response has drawn the ire of numerous […]

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  • Cornell Engineering Dean Digs Deeper Hole over Confiscation of Pro-Life Display

    October 24, 2008

    Ivy League folklore has it that Cornell’s alma mater actually begins like this: Far above Cayuga’s watersThere’s an awful smell;Some say it’s Cayuga’s waters,Some say it’s Cornell. Folklore has a way of encoding a certain amount of truth, and I finally have figured out what this verse refers to: the stench of disdain for expressive rights on the Cornell campus. Already there have been three troubling developments this year. First, Cornell has been criticized for monitoring and recording all Internet usage by students, which surely makes students think twice about what they research on the Internet. This policy was lampooned […]

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  • Cornell University Engineering Staff Remove Students’ Pro-Life Display until Police Force Return of Display

    October 22, 2008

    Breaking news out of Cornell this morning: two administrators from Cornell’s College of Engineering were forced by the Cornell Police to relinquish a student group’s pro-life display, which they had removed from the ground and confiscated entirely because of the content of the display. According to the Cornell Coalition for Life (CCFL) and its spokeswoman, Tristen Cramer, CCFL set up six signs supporting its pro-life “Elena Campaign” in Cornell’s Engineering Quad. The signs were put up around 8:00 a.m. this morning. By 9:00 a.m., Administrative Assistant Dawn Warren had confiscated them and taken them to the Facilities Office of the […]

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  • Cornell’s Hostility to Free Speech Hits a New Peak

    September 29, 2008

    The ongoing hostility to dissenting views at Cornell never fails to surprise. Most often manifested as hostility towards conservative newspapers on campus, censorship once again reared its ugly head yesterday as Cornell’s Student Assembly passed a resolution, which, according to the Cornell Sun campus newspaper, criticized The Cornell Review (a conservative student newspaper) for causing “alienation and intimidation.” What’s more, the resolution —known as “Resolution 6″ —officially “encouraged the Office of the Dean of Students to work with the S.A. to revise the Campus Code of Conduct to prevent further ‘hateful terminology.’” The problem appears to have stemmed from the […]

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  • ‘The Cornell Review’ contretemps

    September 29, 2008

    Dartblog readers probably know that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), where I serve as Vice President, regularly fights college and university administrations who seek to suppress or punish students who exercise fundamental rights such as free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. FIRE has a long history with Dartmouth, which until recently received our lowest, “red light” rating for the protection of free speech on campus. (The entire saga, including the correspondence between FIRE and Dartmouth’s attorneys as well as media coverage, is available at FIRE’s website.) Joe Malchow has generously invited me to post […]

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  • At Cornell, Repressive Reform Proposals Tabled

    March 23, 2007

    Good news from Ithaca, New York—home of gorges, Professor Vladimir Nabokov, and, most famously, Cornell University.   Diligent Torch readers may remember that this past December, Cornell students and faculty were busy voicing their unhappiness with an official proposal for a dramatic overhaul of the university’s judicial code of conduct. Upon its release last April, the proposal—known as the Krause Report after its author, former Cornell Judicial Administrator Barbara Krause—generated widespread criticism from many corners of the Cornell community because it contained sweeping reductions of the due process and freedom of speech protections presently afforded to Cornell students and faculty. […]

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  • Cornell’s Repressive, Regressive Conduct Code Proposal

    December 15, 2006

    At Cornell University, students and faculty members alike are voicing displeasure with a proposal for a new Campus Code of Conduct. Last November, then-Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III commissioned Barbara Krause, a senior advisor, to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing Code of Conduct and propose changes in an effort to recalibrate what some consider out-of-date policy. Her proposals, aggregated in a document known as the Krause Report, were released this past April, and are now online and available for public review. While Cornell has yet to take an official position on the recommendations contained in the Report, […]

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  • New President Spells Hope for Cornell

    January 23, 2006

    An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education today announces that David J. Skorton will become the new president of Cornell University. Skorton, currently the president of the University of Iowa, has made a name for himself as a defender of free speech and academic freedom. The Chronicle article says: At Iowa, Dr. Skorton has actively promoted the arts and humanities as well as scientific research, and he has defended a controversial speaker’s right to appear at his university. A few months after the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalizing research laboratories and offices at the University of Iowa […]

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  • More from Cornell

    October 28, 2005

    One of my first memories from college is hearing the dean of students at my alma mater refer to Cornell University as “that other school ending in -nell.” Given that, I probably shouldn’t be blogging on Cornell again so soon, but given the harshness of my last post, it seems the only fair thing to do. According to another piece in the Cornell Daily Sun, there was another “forum” on free speech there on October 26. This one seems to have been more closely related to the Cornell American controversy I mentioned before, and two panelists’ comments on that unfortunate […]

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  • Confused Cornell

    October 26, 2005

    Some FIRE fans are no doubt aware that our fearless leader, David French, used to be a lecturer at Cornell Law School. If this recent article in the Cornell Daily Sun is accurate, perhaps we should send David back to the lovely town of Ithaca, as the folks there seem utterly confused about what freedom means. Here is how the article begins: Several hundred Cornellians joined eight panelists last night in an event specifically tailored to foster discussion on topics such as freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The event, titled “Censor This: A panel discussion on when, if ever, […]

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  • More on Viewpoint Discrimination

    April 6, 2005

    A FIRE friend replied to Greg’s post yesterday that had made the point that some of the disparity between liberals and conservatives in American faculties could be due to viewpoint discrimination. Our friend notes that he has been a math professor for many years and has participated in hundreds of hiring decisions and has not once heard a mention of an applicant’s politics. He goes on to say: In fact, any participant in these meetings who attempted to bring up the political views of a candidate would face an immediate, incredulous, and hostile reaction. To do so would, even by […]

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