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Cornell Hot Woke Mess – No Clear Mandate for Critical Race Theory Mandates Emerges From Faculty Senate Voting

Cornell Hot Woke Mess – No Clear Mandate for Critical Race Theory Mandates Emerges From Faculty Senate Voting

The ball is in the court of President Martha Pollack, and possibly the Board of Trustees, whether to impose these destructive mandates on the university where not even the Faculty Senate could come to a clear, consistent, or overwhelming consensus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8KLnvgk6Mw

There is bad news and good news coming out of the Cornell University Faculty Senate vote on Critical Race Theory mandates for faculty and students.

First, the bad news. The Faculty Senate nominally voted for some forms of Critical Race Theory mandates on faculty and students.

Second, the good news. The margins were surprisingly thin, there was suprisingly substantial opposition, and some of the six resolutions contradicted others, leaving a muddled mess that has to be viewed as a loss for proponents who must have expected overwhelming support.

The only thing that is clear is that there is no clear mandate from the Faculty Senate as the issue moves from the merely advisory Faculty Senate to the President of the University. If the President, and possibly the Board of Trustees, want to implement these anti-educational initiatives, they are going to have to own the issue, they cannot point to any clear, consistent, or overwhelming Faculty Senate consensus.

I No Longer Stand Alone In Opposing Mandates

I have been covering the attempt to turn the campus into compulsory activism since July 2020, and spoke out forcefully (and almost alone for months) as that directive moved into various forms of proposed training mandates on faculty and educational mandates on students. I’m not going to go over again the history and why these mandates would be anti-educational and damaging to campus free expression, see these prior posts:

To my pleasant surprise, substantial faculty opposition to mandates developed over time, so the original Working Group proposals were watered down by the Faculty Senate into resolutions which were not a full endorsement, but merely suggested that the proposals were “worthy of careful consideration” by the President of the university. That watering down was designed to get more senators to go along, effectively saying that voting “Yes” was not really an intention that these things be implemented, but only that they be considered. So the vote on the original onerous working group proposals was not what it originally seemed.

In addition, during the sometimes contentious senate debate four additional resolutions (two each for faculty and student mandates) were made. So a total of six resolutions (3 each for faculty and students) went to a vote. [Separately, a vote took place weeks ago for a new “Anti-Racism Center” and that passed the faculty senate overwhelmingly, 101-12-5.]

A Horse Designed By Committee

You can read all the resolutions, vote results, and comments submitted as part of the vote, here.

Confused yet? You should be. If a camel is a horse designed by committee, then what just happened is a camel that I don’t think anyone expected at the start of the process

Here’s a summary of what this camel looks like:

Working Group F(aculty)

A majority of all Faculty Senators present and voting supported the UFC-F resolution (55-46-5-20) and the Senator-F1 resolution (54-44-9-19). And a majority of Faculty Senators present and not abstaining voted for the Senator-F2 resolution (49-48-10-19).

Though all three resolutions agree upon the need for a program for faculty, they all offer different prescriptions on how to achieve such a goal. Unlike the Working Group F report (which the UFC-F resolution urged the President to consider), the Senator-F2 resolution called for the voluntary education of faculty. Additionally, the Senator-F1 resolution encouraged a more bottom-up, college-centric (rather than a top-down) approach for the program’s development.

So there was an intractable contradiction, with a majority of Senators voting Yes or No endorsing both consideration of mandatory faculty training and voluntary faculty training.

Working Group S(tudents)

A majority of all Faculty Senators present and voting supported the UFC-S resolution (58-41-7-20) and the Director-S resolution (61-36-9-20). And a majority of Faculty Senators present and not abstaining voted for the Senator-S resolution (49-44-13-20).

Though all three resolutions agree that there should be a student educational requirement, they all seem to differ in how to implement it. The UFC-S resolution calls for the requirement to be developed under the auspices of the antiracism center and different colleges. The Director-S resolution calls for the Africana Studies, American Studies, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Asian American Studies, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Latinx Studies to develop and deliver the requirement. And the Senator-S resolution calls for the program to remain in the individual colleges, while giving students an option to take one existing course on race, indigeneity, ethnicity, and bias.

So the faculty voted to force an educational requirement on students, but the three resolutions endorsed provide very different ways, some more coercive than others, how to accomplish that.

Where does this leave us?

Where I started. There is no mandate for mandates. The liberal Faculty Senate was deeply divided, and there is no single or consistent recommendation to the President either as to faculty or students. The resolutions that received the greatest number of votes were merely suggestions that the President give “careful consideration” to the proposals. This stands in sharp contrast to the clear and consistent Faculty Senate consensus for a new “Anti-Racism” Center.

The ball is in the court of President Martha Pollack, and possibly the Board of Trustees, whether to impose these destructive mandates on the university where not even the Faculty Senate could come to a clear, consistent, or overwhelming consensus. I don’t see how such action could be justified, either on the merits or based on the Faculty Senate vote.

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Comments

JusticeDelivered | May 18, 2021 at 9:26 pm

What a mess, the whole college system.

    The best procedure is to tell the folks from your alma mater to go shove it and that you refuse to give them any future donations until they cram this rot where the sun don’t shine. The next step is to advertise this fact along with the name of the offending institution and your reason. Money talks.

    lawgrad in reply to JusticeDelivered. | May 23, 2021 at 6:56 am

    I disagree. Cornell’s strength is that its colleges are largely autonomous. The only current degree requirement imposed by the University Faculty is the Physical Education requirement — two semesters of 1 credit hour classes. This is to financially bail out the Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics that cannot bring in enough ticket revenue or alumni donations to cover its budget.

    Even when the University Faculty requires Physical Educaiton, it is still up to the individual colleges to decide whether the classes will count toward the 120 hours needed for graduation. In the case of the College of Arts and Sciences, it does not count. https://as.cornell.edu/registrar/courses-that-dont-count So, even if the University Faculty comes up with a required anti-racism class, there will be a college-by-college debate as to whether it will count toward a BA degree. Then each “field” in graduate study will have a separate fight as to whether to require or count such a class toward an MA or PhD.

    Aside from the DoBetterCornell petition that started this, the big debate is over funding. An estimated $12 million in annual tuition is associated with teaching a large lecture class taken by all Cornell students. For small departments starving for funds, grabbing a piece of that revenue is worth the political fight.

    However, there can be a political backlash. Cornell currently has a “live and let live” campus climate. But students were turned off by bad phys ed classes, resulting in student demands the led the University Faculty cutting back the phys ed requirement from four semesters down to the current two. If the six departments teach a bad course, politically disengaged students may being to question why their valuable time and tuition are being wasted.

Progress. Well, a least baby… fetus steps.

Woke and [morally] broke. Dump diversity [dogma]. Lose your Pro-Choice religion. Discover principles.

” [Separately, a vote took place weeks ago for a new “Anti-Racism Center” and that passed the faculty senate overwhelmingly, 101-12-5.]”

Maybe that watered down the urgency of having a mandate.

It appears a minority voted for the proposals–many fence-sitters did not want to commit. Seems like a victory to me.

healthguyfsu | May 19, 2021 at 3:22 am

Well-known academic conundrum: Put 10 Ph Ds in a room and allow them all to speak with equal weight and you will get 10 different opinions and make zero progress.

Supposedly smart people become Academics/Professors.. How can they not see that CRT has feet of clay? Clearly the answer is they see it but they don’t care, they are willing to play along, and that is truly terrifying. There is a term that has been floating around for some time,, cognitive dissonance, that seems to apply.

Thanks for being the initial one brave man Prof. Often that’s all it takes, and it looks like others gathered some courage to join you. May your side continue to gather steam and numbers.
Alumni- sound off and help stop this vile and destructive ideology.

It seems to me that faculty voting for CRT are signing their own career death warrants. Once in place, it means they can no longer teach. They instantly become professional propagandists subject to instant cancellation at any perceived offense whoever slight or real. Who wants to live in that minefield?

Please note that by a one vote margin,, the Faculty Senate voted for a voluntary faculty training with incentives. The other two faculty training resolutions were not clear as to whether there would be a mandatory component backed up by punative measures. The original faculty working group called for the suspension from teaching duties of faculty who failed to complete the training, but that was not endorsed.

Colleges are full of what my late father called educated fools.
.

Cornell. Wasn’t that a school at some time.

I just checked out the virtual alum weekend schedule from Cornell and noticed that some sessions had speakers were identified as “thought leaders”. NO thanks, I can think for myself..

I’ve only attended one reunion so far, so I’ll just continue to pass on this one.

My 65th Reunion at Cornell is coming up next year. I intend to show up and if this “vile and destructive ideology” is still infecting the campus, I will risk life and limb by “sounding off” and perhaps even wearing my MAGA cap.

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