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Cornell students demand Chemistry Prof. David Collum be fired for tweeting that Buffalo incident was not police brutality

Cornell students demand Chemistry Prof. David Collum be fired for tweeting that Buffalo incident was not police brutality

Campus cancel culture seeks to fire someone with an unpopular view, claiming his presence makes students feel unsafe and runs against a diverse and inclusive campus.

David Collum is a distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University, and former Chair of the department. He self-identifies as libertarian, making him one of a small percentage of openly non-liberal professors on a large campus dominated by far-left social justice dogma.

Collum also is a sought-after speaker on finance, and the Snowflake Generation, which seems prophetic in light of what’s going on in his life now.

An online effort has been organized by Cornell students, including a graduate student organizing group which has targeted Collum for years, demanding Collum be fired because of tweets he sent on June 4, 2020, regarding a George Floyd protest in Buffalo, NY. Police pushed a man who then stumbled backwards and fell damaging his head and causing bleeding. The video (below) dominated the news.

Collum’s tweet expressed that he didn’t see it as police brutality because of the way the man approached police. Responding to someone who called police conduct “appalling,” Collum expressed the view (1) “That guy needed to give that cop space. Wasn’t brutality: the guy was feeble. The cracked skull (which I agree was the likely event) was self inflicted,” and (2) “Can you imagine how fried these cops are at this point? The guy got a nudge. The old guy had something in his hand. Looked like maybe a taser. If were a cop, my nerves would be raw. I am tired of these riots.”

This is not the popular view, though, as discussed below, it is not clear that the police violated the law or policy. Regardless, intense criticism of Collum for the tweets, and debate over his view, would be fair and consistent with an intellectually open campus. But that’s not what happened in response, instead the worst of cancel culture is unfolding.

An online effort materialized within hours, demanding Collum’s immediate firing. The campaign against Collum has been highly organized. It involved a Change.org petition, complaint letter templates and auto-complaint portals to flood the Cornell administration, contact information for Collum’s superiors and colleagues, suggestions that bias complaints be filed against Collum, and recommendations that Collum be contacted himself and told to resign. The graduate student organization which targeted Collum in 2017 has been involved.

The Cornell Daily Sun, the student-run newspaper, stoked the targeting of Collum by running an article (comment section here) about the tweets that republished discredited accusations against Collum that first surfaced in 2017, and by issuing an Editorial (comment section here) demanding his firing. In that Editorial, those 2017 discredited accusations were repeated and adopted by the Sun Editorial Board as their own.

The Sun also dragged me into the controversy even though I had nothing to do with Collum’s Buffalo tweets, by alerting the student body that I had addressed the old accusations against Collum in a 2017 letter to the editor of the Sun. The Sun then noted that “Jacobson, too, has his own history of running starkly against campus opinion, holding a generally dismissive view towards Black Lives Matter.” Got it? There’s another heretic on campus.

The Student Assembly also has issued a Demand that Collum be fired.

It’s a total pile-on seeking to enforce rigid uniformity of opinion, even opinion expressed away from campus. The Cornell motto of “any student … any study” has been a theme of the attacks on Collum, arguing that Collum’s tweeted words make students feel unsafe and the campus non-inclusive.

The Cornell administration tried to mollify this mob. In a statement issued by senior Cornell administrators, including the President and Police Chief, the school upheld Collum’s right “to express his views in his private life,” but the administration also condemed Collums tweets as “not just deeply insensitive, but deeply offensive,” and contrary to the Cornell “vision of a university, and by extension, a world for ‘any person’.”

The political culture at Cornell is toxic, and it’s only going to get worse. Cornell should amend its motto to “Any student or faculty member who agrees with popular campus opinion … any study.”

Background – Grad Student Union Organizer Hostility

I wrote about Collum in 2017, when he earned the hatred of graduate students organizing to form a union (which ultimately failed) because Collum opposed the union, which he felt would harm graduate studies. A group of union-organizing graduate students then launched a campaign against Collum via a letter to the editor in the Cornell Sun. The Sun irresponsibly ran the letter.

I wrote about the incident here, Smear campaign against Cornell prof who opposed grad student unionization:

[Collum] is something of a Renaissance man, able to converse not only in his specialty, but also in the fields of economics and politics. He’s an iconoclast, and self-identifies in his Twitter bio as “Libertarian. Fan of Austrian business cycle.”

He writes monumental 100-plus page annual reviews of the year in business and politics that garner a strong following….

For the past year or so there has been a divisive and ugly unionization drive by some graduate students, backed by the political power of the American Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers. Democratic politicians in the state came out in support of grad student unionization.

And sure enough, they came for Dave Collum in a horrendous hit piece in the form of a letter to the editor of the Cornell Sun written by seven grad students, at least several of whom were involved in the union organizing. When I saw the letter in the Sun I was floored. I’m not going to repeat the vicious accusations against him, for reasons that will become apparent below….

So I researched not only the accusations, but also the interactions on social media.

I submitted a counter-letter to the Sun, detailing the results of my research, Letter to the Editor: Prof. David Collum, Chemistry, is owed an apology and a retraction.

I methodically went through the key accusations, all of which were based on Collum’s Twitter history, and demonstrated that the key accusations — such as he was a ‘rape apologist’ who suggested people bring ‘roofies’ on a trip to Las Vegas — were either flat out false or misleadingly taken out of context:

The letter also claimed that Prof. Collum “told a friend to “bring roofies” (a date rape drug) on a trip to Las Vegas.” The tweet in question, however, was taken out of its sequence and context. The twitter users were making movie references, including to Fargo and Coen Brothers movies. Prof. Collum’s tweet appears to reference the movie The Hangover, in which a group of men partying in Las Vegas can’t remember what happened because they were given roofies. I confirmed with Prof. Collum that that was what he was referencing. Prof. Collum’s tweet thus was not suggesting anyone actually bring roofies to Las Vegas, he was referencing a movie theme. This is the exact opposite of what was claimed in the letter.

Had any one of the letter writers or The Sun contacted Prof. Collum, he could have provided that context, which should have been obvious from the sequence anyway.

Another tweet used in the letter was one that said, “Moral of the story: sue your accuser.” From that tweet alone, the letter argues that Prof. Collum “has told men accused of sexual assault to sue their victims (‘accuser’).”

But the link in the tweet showed that Prof. Collum was quoting the article he was linking in the tweet, and that it was about a very specific incident at Amherst in which the male claimed to be a victim of a sexual assault by a female but asserted he was not treated fairly by university administrators. Why didn’t the letter inform readers that the tweet was a quote from another story, and provide the context, which would negate the suggestion in the letter that Prof. Collum was telling men generally to sue their accusers?

These three-year-old discredited accusations now are being spread again as a basis to fire Collum, including not only by the graduate student organization, but by The Cornell Sun student newspaper.

The Buffalo Police Incident

Fast forward to last Thursday

A 75-year-old man was pushed by police in Buffalo, he stumbled back several steps, then fell directly backward slamming the back of his head on the pavement. Politicians, the media, and activists immediately proclaimed this an act of police brutality, and the two officers were suspended and criminally charged.

That’s the easy narrative. The more difficult narrative, as has played out in so many other cases, is that seemingly simple and obvious conclusions from short video clips may not tell the whole story.

Here, the video itself may not support the criminal convictions, argues George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley:

The criminal charges and the call from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for them to be fired has triggered a mass resignation of the Buffalo Emergency Response Team. While Cuomo viewed the evidence as so clear to justify immediate termination, the two officers have a strong criminal defense under the statute….

In the background, you can hear someone say “push him back” as the police seek to clear the area. It is standard for police to shove back individuals as a line moves forward. The question is whether this shove constitutes not just excessive force (subject to disciplinary action) but an actual crime of assault.  An eyewitness who was highly critical of the police action is also quoted as saying that he thought the fall after the shove was “an accident.”  He is likely to be called to any trial and that statement would be admissible in any examination.

On Sunday morning Rep. Karen Bass told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the incident showed police not stopping and not rendering aid. It is true that the officers involving in the shoving did not stop. However, this video shows the officers taking another person into custody and (around the 22 second marker) other officers rendering aid. The point is only that much more needs to be known in the case….

It is hard to see from this video a clear intent to cause serious physical injury in this videotape.  Gugino takes a number of steps backward as he tried to stay on his feet but then takes the hard fall.

In the news conference, District Attorney John Flynn said the officers “crossed a line.”  As someone who have both represented and sued law enforcement, that assertion is likely to be severely tested in court.

Cuomo insisted that the video was clear and warrants immediate termination: “Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat? It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. How did we get to this place?”

While this will hardly be popular in today’s environment, it is not clear from a criminal law perspective.  Pushing and shoving back protesters is a standard police practice, which is why officers are irate that any protest control tactics will involve a risk of protesters or officers falling.

Frankly, absent additional evidence, I would be surprised if Flynn could make this case stick before a jury given this videotape.

The Buffalo Mayor, according to The Daily Mail, described the man as having refused to leave despite three requests:

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has said the 75-year-old man who was shoved to the ground by two cops on Thursday was an ‘agitator’ who tried to work up the crowd and had been asked to leave the area ‘numerous’ times.

Brown addressed the incident in a press conference on Friday after 57 officers on the Emergency Response Team resigned from their positions in support of their two colleagues who were suspended without pay after video showed them pushing protester Martin Gugino and causing him to fall and hit his head.

Gugino, a longtime peace activist from Amherst, had been at a protest at Niagara Square near Buffalo City Hall when he approached a line of officers in riot gear after the city’s 8pm curfew went into effect.

‘What we were informed of is that that individual was an agitator. He was trying to spark up the crowd of people. Those people were there into the darkness. Our concern is when it gets dark, there is a potential for violence,’ Brown said.

There has been vandalism, there have been fires set, there have been stores broken into and looted. According to what was reported to me, that individual was a key major instigator of people engaging in those activities.’

The video also raises other questions that I expect will be raised in the criminal trial, including why the man reached for the officers belt or pocket (it’s hard to tell, but he was reaching with his phone), which was what caused the officer to push him away.

It may be that this is a case of excessive use of force, and I understand that people could jump to that conclusion from the short video in this political environment. That quick take may or may not be supported when all the evidence comes in and the law is applied. More important, to pretend that contrary views are so out of line as to be a fireable offense strikes me as closed-minded, contrary to what Cornell says it aspires to be.

The Tweets

Collum’s tweets at issue took place late in the night, June 4, 2020. [Note: The account is now “private” but since I, along with 53,000 other people, previously “followed” him, I have access to the tweets]

Within minutes people were tweeting at Cornell complaining.

Things spiraled from there, when someone reached out to Kumail Nanjiani, who has 3 million Twitter followers:

https://twitter.com/aka_Spiderwoman/status/1268769275055157250

Kumail apprently sent out this tweet, which no longer appears on Twitter (image via Cornell Sun):

https://i2.wp.com/cornellsun.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/IMG1186177239392148744-e1591393025212.jpg?resize=336%2C435

Things then spread to students organizing on Facebook.

The Change.Org Petition

It’s not clear precisely when the Change.org petition was started, but it was no later than Friday, June 5, and possibly as early at Thursday, June 4, the day of Collum’s tweets. As of this writing there are over 3500 signers, and it repeats many of the accusations from the discredited student-union organizer letter to the Sun.

Terminate Cornell Professor David B. Collum (emphasis in original):

After an elderly man cracked his skull on the pavement after Buffalo Police in riot gear pushed him, Collum made these comments:

  • “Very utiopian.d When we are old and feeble, stay away from violent mobs. Jesus Christ: how fucking stupid do you have to be to understand this”,
  • “Wasn’t Brutality, the guy was feeble”,
  • along with several other tweets justifying and seemingly enjoying this savagery (tweets have since been deleted, his account privated, but they were screenshotted).

David B. Collum has relentlessly made racist, sexist, and bigoted comments throughout his entire career and has grossly mistreated graduate and undergraduate students.

He has been protected by the Cornell Chemistry Department and Cornell University itself. Cornell’s protection of him is shameful and offensive.

He is a perpetrator of institutionalized racism and a supporter of police brutality against peaceful protestors. It has also come to light that he jokes about rape.

The students of Cornell DEMAND his termination. 

I encourage you to read the comments at the Change.org link to see how many are accusing Collum of being racist (something prevalent on Facebook as well). The approach seems to be that the police are racist, so anyone who supports the police is racist.

Complaint Letter Templates, Auto-Complaints, and Grad Student Union Organizers

As part of the effort, students organized a template of a complaint letter to be sent to the Cornell administration.

To President Martha Pollack and Vice President Ryan Lombardi,

As you’re aware, there has been a large and appropriate response to the murder of Black Americans by police officers taking place over the last several days. As we mourn and seek justice for the murders of Mr. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, our society is being traumatized by the systemic, institutional racism that pervades the structures that govern and rule our citizenry.

Yesterday, many people were deeply disturbed to see a video from protests in Buffalo, New York, in which an older man approached police and was violently shoved, then falling backward and hitting his head, leaving him bleeding and unconscious. The video was hard to watch, it was an indefensible use of force that’s characteristic to the overarching issue of police brutality, which a most salient weapon of hatred and racism, which this institution continuously vows its commitment against.

Dave Collum, one of your faculty members and one of our professors, publicly commented on the events in that video in a most despicable manner. Saying, in two separate tweets:

“That guy needed to give that cop space. Wasn’t brutality: the guy was feeble. The cracked skull (which I agree was the likely event) was self inflicted [sic].”

“Can you imagine how fried these cops are at this point? The guy got a nudge. The old guy had something in his hand. Looked like maybe a taser. If [sic] were a cop, my nerves would be raw. I am tired of these riots.”

David Collum is a professor of Organic Chemistry, he teaches pre-med students and influences future doctors. That position of power and impact is in no way fit for someone who so clearly expresses complete apathy about brutality and an aversion to the cause of nation-wide protests in general. It is shameful behavior, to say the least, and the university should be ashamed to have any attachment to it.

This is far from the first time David Collum has gone public with such casually contemptible comments, as it is also far from the first time that students of this university have drawn attention to it. As detailed in this Letter to the Editor published in the Cornell Daily Sun, he commonly vocalizes opinions that are misogynistic, transphobic, insensitive of rape and violence against women, and overall dangerous, especially of a university professor.

I, as a concerned student at the university, am disappointed. I am appalled by David Collum and I am disappointed to attend an institution that is tolerant of such bigotry and apathy. I am disappointed because many of you have failed to take on the role of a faculty member in its entirety. As faculty members, our students expect you to be leaders, mentors, and role models. Yet, you have limited yourself to only an academic influence. Black students need and deserve more from the institution that benefits so greatly from having their dynamic community at Cornell University.

As faculty that represent programs with a commitment to social justice, you have a responsibility to Black students to openly and loudly affirm that they are safe in academic settings from racism and discrimination. That you vehemently oppose and condemn the actions of the police officers in Minneapolis who murdered George Floyd in cold blood, along with the hundreds who went before him. As well as the recent atrocious actions of the Philadelphia Police Department on June 1, 2020, against protesters.

Black lives have been traumatized repeatedly and yet are expected to show up in meetings, research, and academic spaces as though things are ‘business as usual’ while the Black community is quite literally fighting for its life. Although you are familiar with the Black community here in primarily academic settings, many of our Black students are protesting in the streets, constantly providing resources and support to others, and grieving. Black students in our department are risking their lives, safety, and careers daily to bravely stand against White supremacy in the midst of a global pandemic.

How are you supporting your Black students? What resources have you offered to them? Have you contacted every single one of them, asking what they need from faculty, how you can support them? How are you working with your non-Black colleagues and students to remind them that inherent bias runs deep and that you are each responsible for unlearning racism? How are you addressing systemic racism? Cornell University constantly pledges support to its marginalized communities, but claiming solidarity is meaningless while employing a professor who openly condones sexual assault and police brutality. Black students are constantly let down by this institution. Ignoring it is not an option and you have done a deep disservice to yourselves by turning a blind eye and pretending that these events aren’t impacting all of us, particularly Black students and their families. I urge you to address it. Your students will not stand for this disregard of faculty misconduct, and in turn, disregard for our lives.

Sincerely,

[Insert Name]

There also was a webpage set up to auto-send complaints by email:

http://archive.is/EdXtr

The Cornell Graduate Students United prepared this template to respond to the Adminitration’s statement (emphasis added):

Dear Martha Pollack, Michael Kotlikoff, Mary Opperman, Ryan Lombardi, and David Honan,

On June 4th, Buffalo police brutalized an elderly man in an upheaval of police abuse that has spanned this country. Cornell chemistry Professor David Collum publicly defended that violence. In your statement the next day, you claimed that “Professor Collum has a right to express his views in his private life.” This so-called “right”—to express your views and remain a professor at an elite institution—is not borne from the Constitution, nor any federal or state law: the University extends it, and can just as easily take it away. We, the undersigned, urge you to consider the consequences of extending this right to David Collum.

You wrote that “Cornell is founded on a vision of a university, and by extension, a world for “any person”.” Do you believe that “any person” would feel safe working for or taking a class from Professor Collum? Few should, given his publicized history making light of rape, attacking transgender and gender nonconforming people, and now engaging with racist police apologetics. So long as he remains a professor of chemistry, students enrolling in chemistry classes and graduate programs must look over their shoulders.

When some people enroll in classes or apply to graduate school, they get to focus on the academic merits of their decision: who does the best research, or will teach what you need to learn? So long as people like David Collum remain on Cornell’s faculty, that ability remains a privilege. Should women, black and brown people, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and other marginalized communities have to research both the science and the personal views of prospective faculty mentors? Every day that you leave David Collum in his position, you say that they should.

Restricting Cornell’s safe options for mentorship is a tool of discrimination. Every faculty member whose bigoted words and actions preclude their safe mentorship of marginalized people is a portion of the department that has implicitly said they aren’t welcome. It is a percentage of academic positions that they simply cannot take. By tolerating Collum, you are decreasing the marginalized population of Cornell’s Chemistry department. His presence does and will continue to lead people to self-select away.

If this is the Cornell you want—a Cornell for “any person,” so long as they are brave enough to submit to the power of someone who publicly despises them—then this is what you have. Martha, in your June 3rd statement you wrote,
“Words are important. Words matter. But our words – of sympathy, of support, of shared pain – are not enough. While the challenges are enormous, and we cannot fix them on our own, that does not absolve us from taking whatever steps we can to fight against systemic racism and structural inequality.”

Your mere words of condemnation do nothing but tell potential students: we have this man on faculty, and we will keep him here to harm you.

Sincerely,

[Your name here!]

Kevin Hines, one of the leaders of the 2017 effort against Collum, posted on Facebook in response to a Sun post, the “roofie” tweet that I proved was taken out of context, leading people who were not aware of the background to think Collum actually advocated bringing date-rape drugs to Las Vegas:

As you can see, this was a highly organized effort to flood the administration with complaints, and the graduate student organization who had gone after Collum was in the middle of it.

There also were students who shared contact information for administrators and urged direct contact with Collum’s superiors and associates. There also was a suggestion that complaints be filed about Collum under Cornell’s bias disciplinary procedures (I don’t think they apply here, but that’s for another time).

On top of that, there are threats to make Collum so uncomfortable on campus he quits and to go after his NIH funding:

https://twitter.com/escuuuseme/status/1269683039241555968

The Student Assembly Demand for Firing

The Cornell Student Assembly has demanded Collum be fired, in addition to other demands like intensified diversity and inclusion training.

http://archive.is/awHlQ

The Cornell Daily Sun Editorial

The Cornell Daily Sun stoked the targeting of Collum by running an article (comment section here) about the tweets that republished the accusations against Collum that first surfaced in 2017, without expressly noting that the allegations were at least contested:

In April 2017, when the University was known for having more active Title IX investigations than any other university in the nation, a group of chemistry graduate students denounced comments made by Collum regarding sexual assault. This group of students exposed Collum for encouraging his friends to “bring some roofies” (a date rape drug) on a trip to Las Vegas. Collum also encouraged rapists and men accused of sexual assault to sue their accusers. The list of bigoted comments from Collum goes on and on, and his behavior is in violation of Cornell’s professor conduct policies.

[Note, the link in the Sun article goes to rules relating to students, not faculty.]

The Sun has doubled down, with an editorial that calls on Collum to be fired, while repeating the 2017 accusations against Collum.

Fire Prof. David Collum ’77, Chemistry

Editor’s Note: This editorial references anti-black violence and police brutality. It also discusses sexual assault.

On Wednesday, Cornell University published on their official Twitter account a quote by Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55 accompanied by the following caption: “As affirmed in our core values, Cornell strives to be a welcoming, caring and equitable community. We actively stand against racism and hatred, and we are committed to addressing these evils through our teaching, research and public engagement activities.”

A few days later, Prof. David Collum ’77, chemistry, tweeted his support to an audience of over 53,000 followers for police officers who shoved a 75-year-old man in Buffalo, cracking his skull. Collum’s tweet argued that the incident “wasn’t brutality.” “The cracked skull … was self-inflicted,” Collum wrote.

However, by the Buffalo Police Department’s standards, Collum is factually wrong. According to BPD’s use of force policy, police officers are only permitted to use force when there is “no other viable option.” In addition, the BPD’s use of force policy also requires that all officers who injure a person using force ensure medical treatment for that person. As the video above shows, the officers who chose to use force during this incident stepped over the man that they severely injured — as he lay unconscious, blood pooling around his head. Their actions showed a blatant disregard for human life.

Collum’s support for such a morally reprehensible police action is abhorrent. His remarks directly go against Cornell’s core values and impede the University’s ability to create a “caring and equitable” community. But what makes Collum’s tweets even more troublesome is that this is not the first time he has found himself on the wrong side of a civil rights issue.

In April 2017, when the University was known for having more active Title IX investigations than any other university in the nation, a group of chemistry graduate students denounced comments made by Collum regarding sexual assault. This group of students exposed Collum for encouraging his friends to “bring some roofies” (a date rape drug) on a trip to Las Vegas. Collum also encouraged rapists and men accused of sexual assault to sue their accusers. The list of bigoted comments from Collum goes on and on, and his behavior is in violation of Cornell’s professor conduct policies.

This is not an issue of politics and partisanship, nor is this an issue regarding a professor’s right to freedom of speech. The Sun welcomes critical thinking, critique, debate and reform. But this is an issue of student safety and community. As long as Collum walks the Hill — grading students, conducting research, interacting with colleagues, influencing policies — Cornell is doing a disservice to its students. President Martha E. Pollack, fire Collum. And do it now. A simple statement calling Collum’s comments “deeply offensive” does not make amends for the harm that has been done by his words for years.

Of course, firing Collum will not solve the problem of systemic injustice within Cornell faculty. Examine the chemistry department: There are zero Black faculty members listed on their website, and 26 of 30 chemistry professors are men.

Collum’s tweets are simply a link in the chain of systemic injustice that plagues our institution. We don’t expect Cornell to solve this problem overnight, but they need to — at least — acknowledge it. And removing someone with a public, proven track record of alarming opinions is certainly a start.

The above editorial reflects the opinions of The Cornell Daily Sun. Editorials are penned collaboratively between the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and Opinion Editor, in consultation with additional Sun editors and staffers. The Sun’s editorials are independent of its news coverage, other columnists and advertisers.

[Because the Sun no longer has a comment section, the comments are at its corresponding Facebook post.]

This is a truly shocking Editorial. It repeats the 2017 accusations that Collum suggested bringing date rape drugs to Las Vegas and encouraged males accused of sexual assault to sue their victims, even though I demonstrated in my 2017 Letter to the Editor of the Sun that these were not true. By doing so in its own voice in the Editorial, the Sun has adopted those accusations as its own.

The Sun Editorial has serious consequences, as the unfettered accusations about date rape drugs and suing victims have spread based on the Editorial.

https://twitter.com/WMurphyLaw/status/1269636835376091136

Something is going very wrong at The Cornell Sun. At a time when the campus more than ever needs legitimate neutral reporting, the Sun appears to have made a decision to become a participant in campus cancel culture both in its news reporting and editorial outlook.

The Administration’s Statement

After the controversy broke, the Cornell administration was quick to issue a public statement about Collum’s tweets. I’m not aware of any other recent statement from the senior administration about a professor’s speech (trust me, professors have said some pretty outrageous things that many people would consider offensive).

Statement on Prof. David Collum’s Tweets

We watched the video of the events in Buffalo yesterday where police officers shoved an elderly man to the ground and walked past while he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. The behavior we saw was deplorable. We are heartened that the authorities took immediate actions and that the two police officers involved have been suspended.

We agree with Governor Cuomo that the incident was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” We also saw the tweets by Cornell professor David Collum justifying the actions of the police. While Professor Collum has a right to express his views in his private life, we also have a right and an obligation to call out positions that are at direct odds with Cornell’s ethos.

Especially at a moment at which this nation is grappling with the vital need to implement reforms that end police brutality, we find Professor Collum’s comments to be not just deeply insensitive, but deeply offensive. The right of assembly and the ability of citizens to peacefully protest are fundamental to our society. Cornell is founded on a vision of a university, and by extension, a world for “any person” and the hatred and violence in this country stands in the way of that vision, particularly as it so disproportionately affects Black people and other people of color.

Cornell Chief of Police Dave Honan recently stated that the actions of the officers in Buffalo demonstrate that there are still those in law enforcement who are morally and ethically unfit for this profession. We support those in our community calling for change. We can and will do better.

As noted in President Pollack’s message June 3, the Cornell University Police Department is reviewing its policies and training in the areas of use of force and de-escalation techniques, and we are convening a group of regional law enforcement agencies from the local area to also discuss community engagement policies, to try and ensure that we never have this type of episode here.

Martha E. Pollack
President

Michael Kotlikoff
Provost

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

David Honan
Chief, Cornell University Police Department

It’s good that the administration upheld Collum’s right to express his views, but there was a chilling part of that. I sent these requests for comment to the administration, but the only response was to refer me to the statement itself:

1. Does Cornell intend on taking any disciplinary action of any nature against Prof. Collum, including but not limited to termination? If so, what?

2. Does Cornell believe that Prof. Collum violated any Cornell policies with regard to his tweets?

3. Have bias or other complaints been filed with Cornell about Prof. Collum since this controversy erupted, and if so, how many?

4. In her statement, President Pollack stated, among other things, that Prof. Collum “has a right to express his views in his private life ….” Is President Pollack suggesting that had the statements in the tweets been made on campus or in connection with Cornell activity, that Prof. Collum would not have a right to express those views?

That last question is critical. It sends a chilling message to say that some speech is permitted only “in his private life,” when every day at Cornell (when it is in session) there are all sorts of outrageous things said on campus by a variety of people. President Pollack, who has expressed strong support for free speech on campus, needs to clarify what she meant by “in his private life.”

While the administration has the right to criticize professor speech, it doesn’t normally do so. When such criticism takes place, particularly as to off campus speech that does not involve a call to violence or other illegal conduct, it sets a tone. And here, the administration did so precipitously without the sort of measured analysis of the evidence and law quoted above in Professor Turley’s analysis of the Buffalo case.

This creates the impression of the Cornell administration rushing to placate the online mob, which only will encourage further such attacks on non-liberal professors and others who hold minority views.

Conclusion — The Cultural Revolution Is Here

Two years ago I wrote about The new Cultural Revolution on Campuses:

The events of the past year on campuses have been beyond disturbing.

We are witnessing nothing less than a cultural purge of dissenting views on a wide range of topics in the name of social justice. No disagreement is tolerated, not even the slightest deviation. That purge has been going on for many years, but seems to have intensified and is turning on speakers, professors and fellow students….

We’ve noted how even Cornell University, not known as a hotbed of radicalism compared to other universities, has become hostile to conservative speakers, as I wrote in For conservatives at Cornell University, high price for free speech….

The tactics on campus have not reached the violence of the Cultural Revolution, but the attacks on speakers, professors and students deemed ideologically unacceptable, and the destruction of politically incorrect history, are eerily similar….

Any professor or student who speaks against the crowd — be it about Halloween costumes or grad student unionization — is at risk. People get the message. They shut up.

This is a time when strong institutional leadership is needed, because the cancel culture is about to get much worse on campus.

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Comments

This is the natural evolution of the cowardice of the so-called ‘conservatives’ and RINOs on this issue.

They are marching through the institutions demanding that anybody that says ANYTHING they don’t like has their lives destroyed.

And RINOs sit around whining about ‘well private company we can’t do anything’.

    Olinser,

    We’re way past “… RINOs sit around whining about ‘well private company we can’t do anything’.

    We are in a civil war. On our side, is ‘most’ of the US government, being PDJT is president. The justice department is a joke (a rat named Wray still runs the FBI, and a feckless doddering boehner-like character named Barr runs the corrupt DOJ).

    We need more participation from our group than complaining ad nauseam about the rinos: they’ll be just fine. We just might become enslaved or dead.

    Again: the war has started.

      Oh yeah: where is McConnell?

        notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to TheFineReport.com. | June 7, 2020 at 9:38 pm

        The start of the solution to this is to first cut off all government funding, federal, state, county, city from kindergarten through PhD.

        It should start with the defunding this October 1st 2020, the start of the new federal government fiscal year.

          There will be no school in October.

          And at this rate, a lot of bodies due to show up won’t be there.

          notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital. | June 8, 2020 at 1:14 pm

          Psalms 92:7

          The ignorant man does not know, nor does the fool understand this

          But if the wicked spring up like the grass, and the workers of iniquity flourish

          It is so they may be destroyed forever.

          notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital. | June 8, 2020 at 3:01 pm

          DEFUND ALL DEMOCRATS.

          Paul Sperry
          @paulsperry_

          BREAKING: Minnesota Attorney General Keith “X” Ellison refuses

          to publicly release video footage from the body cams of accused cops who struggled with 6-4, 235-lb George Floyd.

          Footage is said to reveal Floyd violently resisting arrest and fighting with cops inside police vehicle
          1:28 PM · Jun 8, 2020

      Sorry, it’s a long quote, but seemed fitting. Frankly, every student should be required to memorize it in grade school and recite it.

      No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

      Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

      I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

      They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

      It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

      GatorGuy in reply to TheFineReport.com. | June 8, 2020 at 9:22 am

      I trust your instincts, I’m with you on this, because:

      1) you make perfect, simple, real-world sense; and

      2) you spell “nauseam” correctly (vs the wrong-gendered “nauseum”), which means you know what also matters, besides the essentials.

      Seriously, I agree: Civil War 2.0; the real fight against — whom else, historically? — the Democrats, our national, our Union’s nemesis, has restarted.

      According to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, in his recently published essay, he writes: “Our reply to the Nazis’ ‘Divide and Conquer’ was ‘In Union there is strength.’ We must summon,” he preaches politically and wholly absurdly, “that unity to surmount this crisis — confident that we are better than our politics.”

      We certainly are, Mr Secretary.

      You want “unity,” Secretary-General Mattis? Go tell your violence-and insurrection-loving comrades in the Democrat/now-Dem-Lefty Party to quit their historically repeated, well-documented lust for trying to overthrow our revered, patriot-founded-and-sustained Republican Form of Government!

      ant unity, Mattis? Go tell the Dem-Lefties to stop revolting against our long-revered, Fst- Founders’-loved Republican

        GatorGuy in reply to GatorGuy. | June 8, 2020 at 9:28 am

        Scratch this please:

        ant unity, Mattis? Go tell the Dem-Lefties to stop revolting against our long-revered, Fst- Founders’-loved Republican

        I missed deleting it — scrap — before sending the final form above.

Please tell me that Cornell does not get even one dollar of federal tax money either directly or indirectly via the tax code or student loans.

    Milhouse in reply to TX-rifraph. | June 7, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    That doesn’t get you what you want. Accepting federal aid makes a college subject to Title 9. It doesn’t make it subject to the 1st amendment.

      Paul in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Now there’s an interesting idea. It doesn’t, but maybe it should.

      dystopia in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 11:02 am

      This from a Public Interest group that actually does litigate free speech cases against private Universities.

      Private universities are not directly bound by the First Amendment, which limits only government action. However, the vast majority of private universities have traditionally viewed themselves—and sold themselves—as bastions of free thought and expression. Accordingly, private colleges and universities should be held to the standard that they themselves establish. If a private college advertises itself as a place where free speech is esteemed and protected—as most of them do—then it should be held to the same standard as a public institution.

      Furthermore, private colleges and universities are contractually bound to respect the promises they make to students. Many institutions promise freedom of expression in university promotional materials and student conduct policies, but then deliver selective censorship once the first tuition check is cashed. They may not be bound by the First Amendment, but private institutions are still legally obligated to provide what they promise. Private institutions may not engage in fraud or breach of contract.

        Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | June 8, 2020 at 11:49 am

        And you will notice that FIRE agrees with me 100% — or I with it. Accepting federal aid does not subject a private college to the first amendment. That’s why FIRE doesn’t sue them for violating it; it tries to shame them instead.

      Neo in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 11:24 am

      We have already seen that Title IX can be made to say anything

      henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | June 9, 2020 at 1:23 am

      Who cares whether or not it’s “subject to the First Amendment?” It surely can be subject to “the checks stop coming.”

      The federal government has no problem stepping on my rights by “forcing” states to deny me my adult privilege of buying alcohol between ages 18 and 21, or my personal choice to cycle without a helmet, by threatening to withhold highway funds (which aren’t even directly related to alcohol, it’s nothing but naked extortion). How much more appropriate and well-targeted would it be to deny these colleges their own operational funds if they deny their students and faculty the same rights the government itself would have to give them.

      They already have no problem telling a college that if they take a penny of federal money in any form, they must comply with Title I-MMM and submit endless compliance forms; what’s the problem with telling them they must comply with the f*g Bill of Rights?

      These academic compounds want to put on their big-boy pants and maintain their own police forces, and hold their own kangaroo trials for sex accusations and “offenses against diversity” without due process, they can do it with their own money.

        Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | June 9, 2020 at 1:27 am

        The federal government has no problem stepping on my rights by “forcing” states to deny me my adult privilege of buying alcohol between ages 18 and 21, or my personal choice to cycle without a helmet, by threatening to withhold highway funds (which aren’t even directly related to alcohol, it’s nothing but naked extortion).

        Actually the Supreme Court said even Congress itself can not force the states to do that. It upheld the funding cut only because it was small enough that the states could choose to absorb it and still refuse to do what Congress wanted. Otherwise the cut would be unconstitutional.

        It also said that any condition, even on new funding to the states must be made by Congress itself, not the executive branch, and it must be unambiguous.

SUE. THE. SH*T. OUT. OF. CORNELL.

    For what? So long as they don’t break their contract with Collum, what is there to sue for?

      dystopia in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 11:05 am

      See the quote above from a group that actually does sue private Universities. There are grounds.

        Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | June 8, 2020 at 11:52 am

        No, actually, FIRE doesn’t sue private universities, unless they break a contract.

        Moreover you dishonestly omitted the next paragraph from your quote: “It is important to note, however, that if a private college wishes to place a particular set of moral, philosophical, or religious teachings above a commitment to free expression, it has every right to do so.” In other words FIRE agrees 100% with what I have been saying all along. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

        Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | June 8, 2020 at 11:53 am

        So tell me what are these supposed grounds? They don’t exist. So long as Cornell doesn’t break its contract with Collum there is nothing to sue it for.

          Jefferson Alexander in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 3:15 pm

          This is exactly why our side is losing this war & will continue getting hit with even more outrageous attacks in the future.

          While we’re debating gnats like “Milhouse” in the comment sections, they’re organizing with online attacks & regional swarms that would make General Patton envious.

          Imagine if we were that organized & quick to pounce on all these city council members who want to defund the police or take a knee with rioters. Where are the recall petitions targeting these elected officials in blue cities under siege from insurrectionists who are literally tearing America down? Governors have barbers arrested for violating executive order lockdowns? Crickets (except for the comment section rage). Prosecutors set all the rioters free? Crickets again (except for the strongly worded headlines). Federal judge says free speech trumps property rights & allows rioters to vandalize? Crickets (except for some academic pontificating on blogs). Mayor says police are a privilege rather than a right? Crickets again (except for more headlines & angry comments).

          Suppose the Supreme Court receded from Roe v Wade. Or a governor started helping the feds enforce immigration laws against illegal aliens. Or a mayor doubled the budget of the police after giving a speech saying “all lives matter, and we have a duty to protect our law-abiding citizens.” Once again, their side would immediately swarm to have those people removed, canceled, fired, harassed, doxxed, etc. And they’d be relentless until we took a knee & begged for their forgiveness while repeating “we can do better.”

          But we just sit back and suffer in silence.

          We need to hit back & swarm campus administrations with the same (or better) fury as these termites are using, warning them not to cave in to the SJWs. Until we do, pointless debates with distractions like Milhouse will only siphon time & energy that sinks us even deeper into the quicksand.

          These people are destroying America with an ever-intensifying fury, and we’re wasting time on the porch swing worrying about whether they can be sued under the 1A or Title IX.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 3:39 pm

          Blah blah blah. Either you’re a criminal advocating that we overthrow the constitution and ignore the law to achieve what we want, or you have no answer to me so you resort to insults.

          If you’re willing to overthrow the law then what distinguishes you from them? Why should anyone support you rather than them? What makes you right and them wrong?

          drednicolson in reply to Milhouse. | June 9, 2020 at 1:45 am

          As tempting as it is, we must not use the Ring to fight Sauron.

Blaise MacLean | June 7, 2020 at 9:20 pm

Dear Dr. Jacobson

What is most infuriating…and frightening… about these allegations is that they are founded upon a lie that noone seems able to call out. The lie is that the presence of the heretic creates fear in the complainers. Supposedly they are afraid of Dr. Collum. Likewise, as in another recent example, New York Times staffers felt threatened and afraid by the publication of Sen. Cotton’s Op-Ed.

It’s a lie.

No one is honestly frightened by Dr. Collin’s tweet (or Dr. Collum) or the words in Sen. Cotton’s article. This is a mere pretext.

Apparently they were frightened by Dr. Collum’s words in 2017… what is the evidence of the last three years? Has he gone on a crime spree? Obviously not.

This fundamental lie, the basis of the heckler’s veto, must start to be called out.

Rgds

BML

    Blaise,

    It’s great you’re frightened about the allegations, but I hope you’re also worried about your life and the lives of your families.

    We’re in a hot civil war.

      Blaise MacLean in reply to TheFineReport.com. | June 7, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      Yes. I am becoming more and more concerned that there seems to be no governor on the lunacy. Every day it gets worse. Every allegation runs contrary to fact and evidence, and no one calls it out. The media just out and out lies…calling peaceful marches violent, violent riots peaceful, saying that we cannot open up from the lockdown to save every life at risk because every life matters, except now if you say that you’re a racist.

      And noone calls BS!

      Yeah I am worried.

        Don’t bother watching ‘the media’ – they’re the ones helping to give marching orders.

        This is INCREDIBLY organized. The fact that kamala harris was at the first White House riots in the crowd meant she knew it was coming. (But she didn’t did have time to sell any tricks in the crowd.)

        Barr, Esper, McConnell, etc are fiddling while America burns. Either they honestly don’t see the forest for the trees, or they are part of the sedition.

        We lived under martial law due to Fauci the Clown and the likes of Whitmer and garcetii (LA mayor) and di blasio, we might as well get the whole thing over with: PDJT should declare martial law, arrest the organizers – including soros, and other funders – and sort it out later.

        All those FEMA camps obama built, and all those bullets obama bought will finally come in handy. And never forget: they were meant for you and I. But for hillary clinton blowing a rigged election, we’d be in for it.

        notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 7, 2020 at 11:53 pm

        Fyi

        Martin Gugino is a 75-year-old professional agitator and Antifa provocateur who brags on his blog about the number of times he can get arrested and escape prosecution. Gugino’s Twitter Account is also filled with anti-cop sentiment. Last Thursday Gugino traveled from his home in Amherst, New York, to Buffalo to agitate a protest crowd.

        During his effort Gugino was attempting to capture the radio communications signature of Buffalo police officers. CTH noted what he was attempting on Thursday night as soon as the now viral video was being used by media to sell a police brutality narrative. Today, a more clear video has emerged that shows exactly what he was attempting.

        In this slow motion video, you will see Gugino using a phone as a capture scanner. You might have heard the term “skimming”; it’s essentially the same. Watch him use his right hand to first scan the mic of officer one (top left of chest). Then Gugino moves his hand to the communications belt of the second officer. WATCH CLOSELY:

        .

        The capture of communications signals [explained in detail here] is a method of police tracking used by Antifa to monitor the location of police. In some cases the more high tech capture software can even decipher communication encryption allowing the professional agitators to block (black-out), jam, or interfere with police communication. In addition, many police body-cams are bluetooth enabled which allows syncing.

        Unfortunately in the modern era the professional agitators have become very sophisticated and use technology to help create chaos. Their activity is highly coordinated, and as James O’Keefe has revealed in his undercover operations these professionals even stage events to manipulate public opinion.

        Lots more in this article at the Last Refuge

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 8, 2020 at 7:30 am

        Media actively censers anyone who dare to refute black lies. Blacks have staggering high crime rates, more than seven times normal, so they hate those whose job is to keep them in line.

        There needs to be a door to door search for looted items, and arrests.

Being an Ivy League professor doesn’t mean you cannot be a dumb shit (disclaimer: I am a professor emeritus at Cornell). But, many a dumb shit has tenure at Cornell, he just happens to be one of the 1% of the dumb shits on the right, the other 99% are on the left.

    Milhouse in reply to Perfesser33. | June 7, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    What’s dumb about him? What has he said that’s actually wrong?

      “The cracked skull was self-inflicted.”
      Even your biggest detractors on this site, Milhouse, would never accuse you of being willing to crack your own skull!

      Organic chemistry professors are well-known to often be subjected to sniffing too much toluene. I think this is the case here. There is definitely something strange in Cayuga’s waters.

        Milhouse in reply to Perfesser33. | June 9, 2020 at 1:23 am

        The cracked skull was self-inflicted. Not on purpose, but he gave it to himself. The police did not give it to him. He slipped and fell.

Soros needs to be taken in a SWAT raid:

Soros And The Secret Origins Of Black Lives Matter:
https://summit.news/2020/06/07/soros-and-the-secret-origins-of-black-lives-matter/

He’s got to pay for what he’s done. So does every donor of the present terrorism and sedition.

LukeHandCool | June 7, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Professor Collum should call to have the students expelled, claiming their presence makes him feel unsafe and truly runs against a diverse and inclusive campus.

    The problem is diversity or color judgment, not limited to “race”, racism. It is yet another euphemism wielded by members of the Progressive Church under their Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, politically congruent (“=”) religion. Diversity and exclusion. Color, not character.

DDsModernLife | June 7, 2020 at 9:56 pm

“Jacobson,..running starkly against campus opinion,..”

And yet they proclaim “diversity and inclusion.”

I guess diversity and inclusion are fine as long as the “campus opinion” isn’t expected to be so diverse as to consider dissenting views; as long as inclusion doesn’t extend to Constitutional conservatives or Libertarians.

Rational people try to view the reactions to statements of fact, like Professor Callum made, as being rational attempts to discredit the deliverer of the message. Unfortunate, I do not believe this to be the case. It is quite possible that these reactions are based upon terror that the facts presented by the speaker will undermine, if not destroy, the currently held worldview of the person responding. The response is mot a dissertation of conflicting facts, but rather a diatribe based solely upon emotion. It is a “burn the heretic” response. And, that is extremely dangerous. If, for some reason, almost any reason, society does not step up to lend emotion support and validation to the responder, then violence usually follows in an attempt to force acceptance of the response. People will respond violently to the destruction of their world, even if it is only a fantasy created in their minds.

“Off with his job!”

Incidentally, are most leftists self-important imperious dicks like these kids are? It’s a half-serious question.

Another tweet used in the letter was one that said, “Moral of the story: sue your accuser.” From that tweet alone, the letter argues that Prof. Collum “has told men accused of sexual assault to sue their victims (‘accuser’).”

But the link in the tweet showed that Prof. Collum was quoting the article he was linking in the tweet […] Why didn’t the letter inform readers that the tweet was a quote from another story, and provide the context, which would negate the suggestion in the letter that Prof. Collum was telling men generally to sue their accusers?

What would have been wrong if he were telling men generally to sue their accusers? Isn’t that good advice, if you can prove the accusation is more likely than not to be false? (If you can’t prove that then suing is a bad idea, because you’ll lose; as the plaintiff the burden of proof is on you. But if you think you can prove it, suing would seem to be the obvious move.)

MoeHowardwasright | June 7, 2020 at 10:37 pm

There should be no Federal dollars going to any college. And that includes loans. It’s time the government got out of the “higher education” business.

I’m not aware of any other recent statement from the senior administration about a professor’s speech (trust me, professors have said some pretty outrageous things that many people would consider offensive). […]
It sends a chilling message to say that some speech is permitted only “in his private life,” when every day at Cornell (when it is in session) there are all sorts of outrageous things said on campus by a variety of people.

Maybe, every time you come across some such outrageous statement, you should start filing complaints. Not because you want anything to be done to those people, but because you want that record to be there in case anything is done to Collum, or to you. And you want to put the administration on the spot, forcing them either to call these statements offensive or to explain why they’re not doing so.

    venril in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Indeed. Use their tactics against them:

    4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

Does “any person” include policemen? Because I think the administration’s statement is pretty hostile to them and would make them feel unsafe. And the student assembly’s statement would definitely make any student who is a policeman feel physically unsafe. Especially since I assume Cornell doesn’t allow concealed carry, even for those with licenses.

I’ve met David Collum at professional meetings, and I’m familiar with his work. He is a brilliant chemist, and Cornell is lucky to have him.

I used to think that Cornell was in a different class from Evergreen State. Evergreen State forced out Bret Weinstein, one of the best scientists and scholars they ever had, for not being “woke” enough. President George Bridges refused to stand up for Weinstein, and groveled before the mob much like Jacob Frey (Minneapolis mayor) did a couple of days ago.

We’ll see how Cornell deals with David Collum and whether they have the courage to stand up for diversity of political opinion. So far, their statements are no more courageous than George Bridges was when he begged the mob to let him go pee.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to OldProf2. | June 8, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    All the colleges and universities are the same. Think about it. They spend billions of dollars every year going to conferences, conventions, and workshops, were they engage in groupthink.

Mob rule. There were early vestages of the Red Guard discussed here some time ago… now in full force. No waiting for facts and rule of law.

The furtive move by the old guy has been considered an attempt to skim electronic signature for cops comm gear. Police cameras are Bluetooth and comm data was being sniffed. No other reason to attempt to touch belt area of cop. Even if not… do you let anyone behind you … see cop doused with liquid and set on fire from behind in recent foreign video. This is a nation going mad.

The Salem Witch Hunts, 2020 style.

Probably worse because of how widespread the infection of intolerance.

They don’t feel safe, yet they initiate the risks.

They abhor racists, yet they inject race into everything and treat minorities as inferior.

The promise, but bring the opposite. No thanks.

    Diversity is a color judgment. They are racist. They are sexist. They are genderist. They are politically congruent (“=”). They are selective, opportunistic, principles of the Pro-Choice religion. We now the ideological bent: divergent, of witch hunters and warlock judges. #HateLovesAbortion

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Charlie Kirk
@charliekirk11

Does anyone else find it strange:

The party that freed the slaves and passed Civil Rights is being called “racist” by the party that owned the slaves, founded the KKK, and opposed Civil Rights

    Yup – and every time I say something like that, some ignoramus screeches, “but they switched places!” Ugh.

      alaskabob in reply to venril. | June 8, 2020 at 10:39 am

      Ask them about Woodrow Wilson re-segregating the government and military. Ask them how many Southern Democrats switched to Republican after voting “no” on 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Revisionist history they can’t escape..so lie about.

      henrybowman in reply to venril. | June 9, 2020 at 1:35 am

      Well, it was halftime!

      Which, if you work out the actual number of years, was pretty prescient.

IMO, the university is a lost cause at present, though that might change in a few years of declining enrollment and revenue.

The new clerisy of administrative bureaucrats has overwhelmed the faculty. Just as they have overwhelmed many other institutions. My advice, walk away. Make a tactical withdrawal to ground of your own choosing.

Our academic institutions each have a certain cachet. Ivys more than others based upon their name brand. Unfortunately the quality of the product has declined. Let it decline further, accelerate the process. Walk away.

No academic committed to the core principles of reason, logic, scientific method, evidence, facts and the ability to hold and freely express unpopular truths and controversial topics should willingly submit to the mob of PC conformity. Walk away.

Find another academic institution where you can have a bit of freedom from the speech and thought police. Somewhere that will welcome your academic credentials. Walk away.

When you do walk away be sure to let the alumni and the doners know why you did. Make sure they know your new academic home. Sooner or later the money will dry up for the charlatans who currently control academia. Walk away.

Walk away and bring your credibility and as much outside money as you can with you to your new academic home. Refuse to participate in the charade that passes for critical thinking and walk away. If you don’t, be prepared to be dragged into some kangaroo court with the queen of hearts presiding; ‘first the verdict then the trial’.

Either way you will be walking. You may as well choose the time and the destination. Take my advice and walk away on your own terms, not those of your enemy.

    CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | June 9, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    So was the downvote because you didn’t appreciate my use of repetition or because you didn’t understand the Lord Humongous
    reference?

When calling things what they are is a crime, sanity is treason.

Diversity and exclusion.

2smartforlibs | June 8, 2020 at 7:25 am

How dare these Punks marginalize someones else opinion just because they disagree.

My comments are directed to the Buffalo incident involving a 75 year old known agitator and the lies and false narratives being spread:
1. Martin Gugino approaches the officers disobeying lawful orders to stay back.
2. Gugino held an electronic device (Determines to be a cell phone) close to one of the officers. He was holding a helmet in his left hand.
3. Gugino was told again to get back.
4. Gugino was pushed by two officers and he stumbled back. Reports were he struck his head on the concrete sidewalk, but the sound captured on video was most likely his helmet striking the ground.
5. Immediately, an unusual amount of ‘blood poured from is right ear, then stopped as suddenly as it started.
6. Within 5 seconds you can hear on officer call for medical help.
7. The line of officers continued forward, allowing the tactical medical officers to render aid.

My editorializing:

1. There was way too much blood coming too fast and stopping almost immediately. He wasn’t “bleeding out” from at most, a burst ear drum.
2. The back of his head that struck the ground wasn’t bleeding.
3. Video shows a yellow tube coming out of Gugino’s mask and circling his ear, in addition to the white mask strap. (No blood out of his left ear.
4. The force used by the officers didn’t appear to be excessive. Gugino stumbled backwards for several steps before he fell.
5. Gugino came to the protest looking to create an incident, and he succeeded.
6. Media reports of the incident were exaggerated, although he was injured.

A strong factual argument can be made that this incident was staged by Gugino to make the cops look bad and for the politicians to over react. I wish somebody in Buffalo would go spray some luminal where the pool of blood was.

Hot off the Daily Sun press (“7 hours ago,” though undated and not time-stamped more specifically):

https://cornellsun.com/2020/06/08/collum-steps-down-from-top-chemistry-department-position-amid-intense-backlash-over-tweets-defending-alleged-police-brutality/

“David Collum ’77 — a chemistry professor who faced backlash for tweeting in support of police officers that pushed and severely injured an elderly man — stepped down from his position as director of undergraduate studies for the chemistry department on Saturday.

“Department chair Prof. Brian Crane, chemistry, confirmed to The Sun that Collum was no longer the director of undergraduate studies.

“According to Collum, the chemistry department had already been planning to change its top three positions — director of undergraduate studies, director of graduate studies and associate chair — for several months. Crane clarified that those changes were supposed to go into effect on July 1, but Collum stepped down now “given the circumstances.” Crane also wrote that Collum’s decision was a move he thought “was for the best” of the chemistry department.” . . .

‘ Looks like the distinguished organic chem prof is still employed, so that the last of four express demands, issued by the university’s Politburo of the General Will, I mean Student Assembly — the immediate dismissal of Professor David Collum — is not yet achieved.

There is still hope for a non-Bizarro-World-like, dystopic outcome in this case. Although, I suspect and fear, despite all the heroic, humane efforts by our esteemed leader, WAJ, not much.

I wonder what Ezra Cornell, who insisted that, in founding a university at Ithaca, the famed rubric of “Any Student . . . Any Study” would come in time to be so perverted, corrupt, and debased. Perhaps his ghost is now trying hard behind the scenes to fight back. It would be a fight worth having to save the culture he came from and its imagined better future from its very own present self-destruction.

It’s a socio-political black hole that now seems increasingly more frightful and pernicious, day after day, to normal, responsible, and socially mindful citizens.

    Milhouse in reply to GatorGuy. | June 8, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Making any concession to the mob is a bad idea; it only whets their appetite. Once they scent blood they will howl for the rest of their demands, and even more. Even if he was going to leave that post on July 1, he should not have left it a day earlier, and should perhaps have changed his mind and refused to leave even after that date, until the demands are dropped.

Correction, please:

Substitute for “dystopic,” in my post at 8:24,

“There is still hope for a non-Bizarro-World-like, dystopic outcome in this case. Although, I suspect and fear, despite all the heroic, humane efforts by our esteemed leader, WAJ, not much,” its negative, the word “non-dystopic”.

I regret the illogic in the error.

I wrote a letter of defense of the Professor to Pollack.
Evidently, students are not concerned about Chemistry, which is a difficult subject, kind of like math.

Colleges seem to excel in thinking through emotion and making people stupider and more apt to be useless to most of us in the future, kind of like Alice in Wonderland’s upside down world.

    alaskabob in reply to Mich. | June 8, 2020 at 10:44 am

    So failing in chemistry class will boil down to the fact that chemical reactions are racist. Maybe they will study chemical discoveries that were only found by minirities? Morrison and Boyd were white.

    lc in reply to Mich. | June 8, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    My guess is that it wasn’t chemistry students who made the complaints or signed the letter.
    What a shame.
    The students continue to run the asylum.

“Martin Gugino is a 75-year-old professional agitator and Antifa provocateur who brags on his blog about the number of times he can get arrested and escape prosecution.”

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/06/06/buffalo-officials-duped-by-professional-antifa-provocateur-arrest-and-charge-two-police-officers-righteous-police-team-stand-together-and-walk-out/

As a matter o.f fact, Cornell is only in part private–the Ag School and Industrial Relations, for example, areNY State supported. Second, re the Cornell administration–likeadministrators every where–as we use to say in NYC about thee East River: the shit rises to the top. Cornell
is another example of the need to take science research and training out of the existing colleges and universities into new federally funded institutes based upon merit hiring and admissions; exise tax away the endowments, halt taxpayer support, and end s special tax privileges to turn the existing colleges into purely commercial entries selling four years of fun and beer. On a personal note, I can not say how happy Iam to be retired from the academy so I can be a free man. Remember what should be the slogan for the upcoming election–IF YOU WANT YOUR LIFE THREATENED AND PROPERTY DESTROYED, VOTE DEMOCRATIC

I’m still baffled by the idea of letting the students run the college. Aren’t they technically (by tax and other laws) still children?

I find it extremely odd that Guigino’s injuries are never discussed in the media. Normally we would see 24 hour detailed coverage. Instead Guigino seems to have resumed his social media revolution as if nothing happened at all.

There seems to be some sort of distortion of the idea of diversity and inclusion. In fact, it seems the CSA so poorly understands the concept, that it should be disbanded.

    drednicolson in reply to Neo. | June 8, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Leftilibrals want to lull you into accepting their glittering generalities, before capriciously redefining the key terms to pull the rug of discourse out from under you.

    They’ve done it with all their buzzwords. “diversity” “inclusion” “safety” “harm” “privilege” “racism” et. al.

It might be safe to assert a disjunction, e.g., “The Buffalo incident wasn’t police brutality OR there are only two sexes.”

Divide the opposition.

Professor Collum today, tomorrow Professor Jacobson?

My first thought: EXPEL the students

… just a thought of course…

hope he fights!

I’ve seen nothing but the initial video of the incident, which I think clearly showed the old man approaching the group of heavily armed police moving towards a goal, when he stopped one cop and then reached out to another. At that point, they pushed him back and he fell. From the begining, it was clear he had instigated the confrontation and was trying to interfere with the police. For the Cornell students to be so arrogant, judgmental, and just downright snotty is shocking. Who is in charge there? Given the circumstances and given Prof. Collum’s demotion, I have to agree with the earlier posting: walk away. This university can no longer judge merit and is no longer worthy of the Prof. Collum’s efforts.

Subotai Bahadur | June 8, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Just tossing the thought out for consideration, but anyone in a position to hire a college graduate might want to just automatically round file any job application from any Cornell graduate. If this is the mindset of even a significant fraction of their student body, avoiding them all would seem to make sense. Sorry Professor, but the student body there seems to have an endemic outbreak of TWANLOC disease.

Subotai Bahadur

BierceAmbrose | June 8, 2020 at 7:05 pm

How’s his chemistry research, building researchers, n teaching?

It’s common to the point of cliche for scholars, deep, subtle n innovative in their specialty to presume the same authority about everything else.

The rest of us know better. Listen to the profs about what they’re expert in, and assume they’ll be uniquely, spectacularly wrong about anything else. Call it Krugman’s Law.

So, how’s this guy’s chemistry?

    BierceAmbrose in reply to BierceAmbrose. | June 8, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Well, in a Cornell tradition ChemistryGuy is also pretty right about other topics, as much as I’ve read so far. He’s at least coherent and consistent even if he’s wrong. Call it “The Asimov Rule” — occasionally a Cornell chemsitry prof is right on other subjects.

    BUT, that need not be the case. As a prof of whatever, he’s allowed, even expected to be wrong about everything but his specialty. We benfit from the advanced, specialized knowledge. That’s why we make special, savage gardens for adademics to play out their uber-careerist knife fights in narrow ivory silos.

    Sometimes they get loose, and the rest of us get Krugmaned, but net / net it’s worth it. This is why we have soap.

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