Resolution 160: Regarding vetting of International Dual Degree Programs

Passed: April 7, 2021
Posted: March 19, 2021

Joanie Mackowski (Literatures in English)
Richard Bensel (Government)
Harold Hodes (Philosophy)
Carl Franck (Physics)
Neil Saccamano (Literatures in English)
Michael Nussbaum (Statistics and Data Science)
Risa Lieberwitz (ILR School)


Magnus Fiskesjo (Anthropology), Matthew Evangelista (Government), Allen Carlson (Government), Rachana Kamtekar (Philosophy), Charles Francis Brittain (Classics), Alejandra Gandolfo (Plant Biology), Joseph Margulies (Law School), Jeremy Braddock (Literatures in English), Kenneth M. Roberts (Government), Rebecca Slayton (Science and Technolgy Studies), Jane-Marie Law (Asian Studies), Natalie Melas (Comparative Literature), Grant Farred (Africana), David Levitsky (Human Ecology), John S. Henderson (Anthropology), Eli Friedman (ILR), Nick Admussen (Asian Studies), Robin McNeal (Asian Studies), Lori Khatchadourian (Near Eastern Studies), Barbara J. Strupp (Nutritional Sciences/Psychology), Adam T. Smith (Anthropology), Darlene Evans (Knight Institute), Rachel Bezner Kerr (Global Development), TJ Hinrichs (History).


IDDP Vetting Background Doc

The Resolution

Whereas the university has developed and continues to develop degree-granting programs with universities in countries around the world;

Whereas the Guidelines on Ethical International Engagement []emphasize the importance of maintaining the University’s commitment to “free and open inquiry and expression; diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination; justice and human rights; and respect for the natural environment”;

Whereas the Guidelines on Ethical International Engagement also assert that we should “avoid partnering with colleagues, organizations, agencies, or companies that are under credible and direct suspicion of malfeasance or serious legal or human rights violations”;

Whereas democratic governance is in decline across the world;

Whereas, currently, the transition toward authoritarian and repressive regimes does not result from armed takeover but rather occurs incrementally and subtly, and the line between democratic and authoritarian regimes grows increasingly porous and ill-defined;

Whereas, as a result of the above, we have increased opportunity and fewer barriers to collaboration with authoritarian regimes;

Whereas to collaborate in degree-granting partnerships with organizations and universities under the sway of authoritarian regimes risks degrading and compromising the University’s mission, function, and reputation;

Whereas to collaborate in partnerships with organizations and universities under the sway of authoritarian regimes also lends such regimes legitimacy, allowing them to further their anti-democratic aims;

Whereas the University’s Code of Conduct states that “The University, as an educational institution, has a special set of interests and purposes, the protection and promotion of which are essential to its effective functioning”;

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate calls on University administration to recognize the grave and present risk of entangling our institution with anti-democratic forces;

Be It Further Resolved that the Faculty Senate calls for an immediate revision of the vetting and approval process for International Dual Degree Programs (IDDP’s), including greater transparency about the details of proposed programs and their contexts, and active consultation with the Faculty Senate and its committees, to ensure compliance with the Guidelines on Ethical International Engagement and to promote and protect Cornell’s interests and purposes as a higher education institution.

Vote Results:

72 yes; 6 no; 12 abstain; 38 DNV

Added after September 22, 2021 Faculty Senate meeting []where this proposed resolution was withdrawn by a motion presented by UFC member, David Lee, and seconded by Senator Richard Bensel with unanimous support of those in attendance.

Proposed Resolution on a Proposed IDDP Approval Process[]

Posted:  May 10, 2021
Sponsor: University Faculty Committee[]

draft of the proposed process was presented at the March 31 Senate. []The revisions that led to the final proposed process that this resolution is about are based on feedback from that presentation, the recommendations articulated in Resolution 160 [](Regarding the Vetting of International Dual Degree Programs), and discussions with the Office of the Provost.

Other Senate discussions and supporting materials are described here.

The Resolution

Whereas engagement with international institutions is consistent with the idea of Cornell being a university with global impact;

Whereas  an International Dual or Joint Degree Program is the highest form of educational collaboration possible between two schools;

Whereas it is important for the vetting process to be rigorous, complete, and transparent;

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate recommends the adoption of this approval process for such programs.

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One thought on “Resolution 160: Regarding vetting of International Dual Degree Programs

  1. After I presented this resolution yesterday, Charlie asked: if we apply this level of scrutiny to IDDP’s, will we also scrutinize student-exchange programs and other sorts of international programs? He was expressing concerns about where we will “draw the line.” I suppose it’s natural, given an institution as large and complicated as this one is– and during a semester as complicated as this one– that faculty oversight might seem like a hassle or impediment. It’s not, though. This kind of oversight is our job. No matter how large the institution gets, we all have to work together, and there will be times when we need to self-correct. Is the problem that it’s financially unfeasible to uphold the university’s mission? If we’re not sure, let’s investigate. Here’s cheers and thanks to Charlie for helping us navigate this complex and crucial issue and for beginning the work of revising the IDDP approval process.

    Joanie Mackowski
    Literatures in English / Creative Writing Program

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