Resolution 110: Investigation of Cornell University Conduct Toward Student Protestors

Passed: May 13, 2015
Sponsor: University Faculty Committee – R. Lieberwitz, R. Craib, E. Cheyfitz, E. Sanders, L. Dubreuil, J. Weiss, C. Schaffer, P. Sawyer, E. Anker, P. Friedland, R.  Miller, V. Meyers-Wallen, S. Feldman, C. Fewtrell
Senate Discussions:

The Resolution

WHEREAS, the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD), in investigating student protesters in March and April 2015, reportedly engaged in intimidating and aggressive conduct, including: coercive interrogations ofstudents; threatening to drag a student from class in handcuffs; threatening a student with a lengthy prison sentence; and subpoenaing student Facebook accounts;

WHEREAS, more than 100 Cornell faculty members have publicly expressed their alarm about this conduct;

WHEREAS, Cornell administration is and should be held responsible for the actions of CUPD;

WHEREAS, these alleged actions by the CUPD and the Cornell administration may appear to be efforts to silence and/or punish student political protest;

WHEREAS, the Faculty Senate has created an ad hoc committee in the past to investigate and report about CUPD conduct that interfered with freedom of expression and academic freedom during the events of November 26, 2012 on Ho Plaza;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate charges the University Faculty Committee to create an ad hoc investigating committee of three Cornell faculty members to investigate the conduct of the Cornell administration and the CUPD toward student protesters in March and April 2015 and during other relevant time periods. The ad hoc committee investigation shall include, but not be limited to: obtaining statements from relevant administrators, the Cornell Police Chief, Cornell police officers, students, faculty, and other witnesses; gathering information about investigative techniques used by the CUPD and about protocols governing the role and conduct of CUPD; and obtaining other evidence such as photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ad hoc investigating committee shall report back to the Faculty Senate as soon as possible with a written account including: the committee’s findings concerning alleged intimidation and threatening conduct by the CUPD; the role of the Cornell administration in these events; and the potential and/or actual interference with freedom of expression and academic freedom resulting from the alleged conduct of the CUPD and/or Cornell administration. The committee shall also report to the Faculty Senate with any recommendations to ensure that CUPD and Cornell administration take active steps to protect freedom of expression and academic freedom at Cornell, including, but not limited to: potential changes in protocols governing the role, conduct, and uses of CUPD on campus; possible disciplinary procedures for any police engaged in misconduct or officials who ordered it; potential education/training of the Cornell police concerning their obligations to respect and protect the rights of individuals subject to CUPD investigations or other CUPD actions; and possible education/training of the Cornell police and Cornell administrators, officials and employees concerning their obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and academic freedom on campus.

Endorsers:

University Faculty Committee
and
Risa Lieberwitz (ILR)
Raymond Craib (History)
Eric Cheyfitz (English)
Elizabeth Sanders (Government)
Laurent Dubreuil (Romance Studies)
John H. Weiss (History)
Chris B. Schaffer (Biomedical Engineering)
Paul Sawyer (English)
Elizabeth Anker (English)
Paul Friedland (History)
Richard W. Miller (Philosophy)
Vicki Meyers-Wallen (Biomedical Sciences)
Shelley Feldman (Development Sociology)
Clare Fewtrell (Molecular Medicine)

Background


Term 2015-2016
Senate University Faculty Senate
Status Adopted
Abstract WHEREAS, the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD), in investigating student protesters in March and April 2015, reportedly engaged in intimidating and aggressive conduct, including: coercive interrogations of students; threatening to drag a student from class in handcuffs; threatening a student with a lengthy prison sentence; and subpoenaing student Facebook accounts
Resolution File view
Title Investigation of Cornell University Conduct Toward Student Protestors
Sponsors UFC, R. Lieberwitz, R. Craib, E. Cheyfitz, E. Sanders, L. Dubreuil, J. Weiss, C. Schaffer, P. Sawyer, E. Anker, P. Friedland, R.  Miller, V. Meyers-Wallen, S. Feldman, C. Fewtrell
Reviewing Committee Muna Nudlo, Chair, Charles Brittain, Paulette Clancy

Resolution History

Date Action View Details
5/13/15 Adopted by University Faculty Senate
8/14/15 Review Committee Formed
3/14/16 Committee Report Received
4/11/16 Response from Chief Kathy Zoner
4/13/16 Report Presented to Faculty Senate
Print Friendly, PDF & Email