Resolution 165: UFC-F: In Support of the WG-F Recommendation for a Required Educational Program for Faculty

Passed:  May 18, 2021
Posted:  April 5, 2021
Sponsor:   The University Faculty Committee (UFC)

Final Report
One-Page Summary
The Antiracism Initiative[]
Working Group F Website[]

NOTE.  Concerns were voiced that the original formulation of the resolution was too  “all or nothing” (“Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate endorses the recommendations that are set forth in the WG-F Final Report“)  and did not adequately assert the importance of Faculty  engagement during an  implementation phase.. There were also questions about having WG-F act as the official sponsor of the resolution. For these reasons the original resolution has been modified and is now sponsored by the UFC. There has been no modification of the WG-F final report. (4/20/2021)

The Resolution:

Whereas President Pollack charged the Faculty Senate to develop plans for an educational requirement for faculty in her July 2020 letter [] to the Cornell community;

Whereas the Faculty Senate discussed the working group charges and methodology at its (9/30/2020) meeting; []

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate believes that the recommendations set forth in the  WG-F Final Report.  are worthy of careful consideration by the President and Provost;

Be it further resolved that broad, transparent consultation with the faculty must attend any decision to implement a WG-F recommendation;

Be it finally resolved that such consultation include engagement with the Faculty Senate and whatever standing committee might be relevant, e.g., the Academic Freedom and Professional Status of the Faculty Committee, [] the Educational Policy Committee , [] and the  Faculty Committee on Program Review. []

Vote Results:

Yes = 55, No = 46, Abstain = 5, DNV = 20

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132 thoughts on “Resolution 165: UFC-F: In Support of the WG-F Recommendation for a Required Educational Program for Faculty

  1. In my opinion, one of the reasons faculty feel that the prescribed program is “re-education” is not its stance — that we all need to learn more about structural racism and other related issues — but its style.

    Personally, I am in favor of the principle behind this requirement — that faculty ignorance on this topic is likely contributing the perpetuation of structural racism on our campus, and so the solution is education of faculty. However, I object to the proposed mode of implementation, which is to continue with the corporate training style workshops. I have taken some of these and find that sometimes they are useful but sometimes they are a bit patronizing. They are designed, understandably, as suggestions for faculty, not a fundamental education on a topic on which they may be ignorant.

    Meanwhile, I see that the students will receive an Ivy League education in anti-racism, taught by some of the world’s leading experts. This is great! For them.
    Would it be possible for faculty to sign up to take one of _those_ courses to fulfill my requirement? Or could our expert faculty design some kind of faculty course? Note that in the IDP workshops I have taken they are not graded, so it would not necessarily require more faculty resources. For example, we read books by our own faculty and write reflections as we do in IDP workshops etc.

    I personally feel this approach would more be in keeping with the spirit of the university, and would invigorate, rather than deaden, discussion of these critical issues.

    1. I believe the commentator is overly-optimistic. Any coerced education — and no one should forget the coercion involved — will “deaden” discussion. Indeed, no real discussion will be had. The only people who will discuss are those who already believe in the philosophy animating the programming. Those who do not see the social world in terms of human action being determined by “social structures” will soon enough realize that the only prudent course of action is to remain silent, unless of course, the University comes to believes that silence = violence, in which case coercion will presumably be used to compel speech.

      1. With a leading Cornell administrator today making public statements about policing incidents before they are investigated (much less adjudicated), one would have to be naive to think that we are not entering a situation where compulsory critical race theory-based education will become expected (and even compelled) thought and speech.

    2. Can someone please explain what “structural racism” means? Is it being offered as an explanans, where observed racial disparities across various social domains is the explandum? If so, is “structural racism” being offered as the only explanans for those observed disparities? If so, does anyone who teaches social science or social scientific methods at Cornell actually believe that proposition to be true, i.e., that “structural racism” is the only variable causing observed disparities? I suppose it depends on what is meant by “structural racism,” but then we’re back to the original question. How is “structural racism” being operationalized? Or is “structural racism” being used as a synonym for observed disparities, in which case “structural racism” doesn’t explain anything: it’s just another name for observed disparities.

    3. I find these comments remarkable. The faculty need to be forced, coerced, compelled, with the threat of being banned from teaching, or worse, to receive “a fundamental education on a topic on which they may be ignorant.”

      Notice the use of the word “topic.” Precisely what “topic” is it on which faculty are “ignorant,” such that they need a “fundamental education” to end their “ignorance.” Is the “topic” “anti-racism” and its fellow traveler “critical race theory”? If so, then surely the writer realizes that not everyone agrees that being schooled in the faith those theories or ideologies represent would constitute an “education.” If “topic” refers to something else, I would be grateful to know, precisely, what that something else is.

      To say that someone is ignorant is to say they are unaware of the truth of some proposition. What are the specific “propositions” — not vague concepts — of which the commentator believes faculty should no longer be “ignorant,” such that their ignorance should be remedied with coerced “education”? Do these propositions include normative propositions? Suppose the proposition is this: The University should use quotas in hiring in order to achieve equity. Is that one of the propositions about which faculty are “ignorant.” I should have thought that that proposition was subject to reasonable debate. Is the point of the required faculty program to coerce faculty into believing debate on the truth or falsity of that proposition is no longer subject to debate at Cornell University?

  2. The agenda for the Faculty Senate awards another 15 minutes to the Dean of the Faculty in order to make the central administration’s case for a mandatory learning program for Cornell faculty. We should, at this point, review what the Dean of Faculty’s role has been in all this. First, he appointed himself co-chair of the committee that deliberated on this issue. Second, he has brought to the Faculty Senate a text that, as far as we have been told, has never been formally approved by the committee. Third, he has represented this text and the associated resolution as a “committee report” which is not the case if the committee has not formally approved it. Fourth, he has insisted on presiding over our deliberations on this issue even though he is strongly committed to a particular position and even though the presiding officer of the Faculty Senate should be “an impartial moderator.” Fifth, he has (by my count) posted about a third of all “comments” on the websites for WG-S and WG-F even as has censored at least one opposing message.

    Richard Bensel


  3. This comment was originally posted at 12:12 PM on Thursday, April 15, and put on the site about two hours later. The next day it was taken down from the site. I am now attempting to repost it.

    I heartily agree that everyone is entitled to their opinions and to express them in any form they believe proper. However, the one person who should not seriously intervene in a debate is the officer who presides over meetings of the Faculty Senate. As Article XI of the “Organization and Procedures of the University Faculty” states and requires, “The Speaker…will serve as an impartial moderator of Senate meetings.”

    This posting was in reply to a post by the Dean of Faculty praising me for bravery. I see that that post has also been taken down.

    Richard Bensel rfb2

  4. Will the University be submitting any proposed “required programming” for review by Univesity Counsel’s Office in order to ensure that any such programming does not violate existing federal anti-discrimination laws? A complaint has recently been filed with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education alleging that the San Diego Unified School District’s teacher and staff training process constitutes unlawful racial discrimination and creates a hostile work environment.

  5. If the comments already posted are any evidence of the sentiments of the entire faculty, this proposal will be divisive. Each side will claim the moral high ground. Doubtless some members of the faculty will not speak up because they are afraid to do so. Under these circumstances would it not be advisable for the University to ask the entire faculty to vote on the proposal? Doesn’t the Administration risk getting a distorted view of what the faculty as a whole believe if it pays attention only to those willing to take the time to post a comment or appear at a University Senate meeting?

    1. I agree that voting by secret ballot by the entire faculty would be more appropriate here, especially if the measure is to be adopted.

      1. Actually, the entire faculty probably ought to vote — and why not by secret ballot? — on practically everything of any significance. After all, this senate is not a genuinely representative body, inasmuch as most of its members are unelected. They’re typically appointed to it — whether they volunteer or are pressed into it because no one else wants to do it.

  6. I am opposed to the mandatory faculty indoctrination. Why can’t this program be offered on a voluntary basis with incentives for faculty to take it, similar to how it is done with the existing DEI offerings, for example, a popular Faculty Institute for Diversity? Why can’t this training be incorporated into the existing programs that have a broad diversity and inclusion focus? Rather than punishing with the stick, can the University offer incentives for faculty to participate in DEI programs on a voluntary basis?

    Many departments and centers have already responded to the current situation with self-organized book clubs, diversity discussions and programs, and other initiatives. Why can’t the University have trust in their own faculty to find ways to respond to current challenges with their own initiatives, as they see fit and appropriate?

    Finally, if the University chooses to institute a mandatory program for racial justice, where do we stop? What about implicit biases based on gender, disability, country of origin, religion, political affiliation, etc.? Should we not then institute similar types of mandatory trainings for them too? Not to mention the fact that Cornell’s Ithaca campus is located on the traditional homelands of the Cayuga Nation with a painful history of dispossession and violence, which creates a moral and ethical obligation for educating faculty and the broader Cornell’s community on this legacy: Should this issue be also part of the mandatory faculty training? Again, my question is where we draw a line here, and how to rationalize privileging one issue, while sidestepping other ones?

  7. Others have eloquently articulated the logical flaw of this group “re-education” effort. I am firmly opposed. Our most basic “property” right is the freedom of our thoughts. If I wanted the university to tell me what and how to think, I would move to China or another communist regime.

  8. I generally support the measures proposed and believe they will be worthwhile. With regard specifically to faculty training, I suppose I like the idea of a requirement because otherwise it would only reach the cheerleaders. At the same time I think it would be good to start to manage required trainings jointly across different topics. They are each important. There are also many other important topics that are not yet addressed by such trainings, and we need to make sure the time used in each is valuable. I strongly suggest we encourage measuring the effectiveness of these programs in some way. They need to be designed to not only appeal to those who are not cheerleaders, but have some positive impact on their contribution to our culture and atmosphere. I am not sure all of the trainings we currently receive are designed with that idea in mind. Sometimes they feel a bit more like a box-checking exercise.

    1. I don’t know how one can “measure” the “effectiveness” of these programs unless and until their intended ends are described with specificity, which so far as one can tell they have not been. Some regard such programming as a form of attempted “indoctrination” into the teachings of critical race theory, which doesn’t seem an unfair characterization inasmuch as they are being sponsored in the name of “anti-racism,” and insofar as many of those who write in support of anti-racism subscribe, so far as one can tell, to critical race theory. If so, then perhaps the only “measure” of success will be one that tells us if those who are coercively required to attend such programming come to believe in the truth of whatever propositions combine to make critical race theory a theory.

  9. Regarding faculty training requirement, would be possible to sidestep the coercion narrative without substantially impacting participation? Something like: 50% of the University wide SIP is set aside and distributed EQUALLY across all faculty who participate. Rest of SIP distributed as usual (rank, merit, etc.).

    1. I agree that creating incentives is better than the threat of punishment, which seems unseemly for a University. And punishment is what is being contemplated, no matter what euphemisms are used to describe it. We should be teaching our students to see beyond and through euphemisms, not instructing them by example on how to use them to achieve their ends.

  10. I fail to see how the plan for group F will make any substantive changes in equity at the university when a) diversity trainings and other types of training have been shown to be ineffective at behavior and systems change, and b) requiring DEI statements of new faculty to teaching evaluations and those applying for promotions, and adding DEI questions to teaching evaluations, will effectively monitor and judge more women and minorities, leaving tenured faculty – disproportionately white and male – out of any accountability measures. The “expectation” of 2 hours per semester of diversity training also largely can exempt tenured faculty, as it is difficult to imagine a case of dismissal for not engaging in these 2 hours.
    In keeping with the popular cartoon that shows EQUITY as 3 different sized boxes to help different sized people see over a fence, as opposed to EQUALITY where everyone gets the same sized box, leaving taller people able to see way better, and shorter people still unable to see over the fence, I strongly urge the University to come up with an EQUITABLE approach to improving our practice here at Cornell. This would indeed be “radically equitable,” noting that our community consists of populations that have historically been oppressors, and populations that have historically been the oppressed. Creating a system that puts the larger burden on the historically oppressed and effectively allows the group that has historically been the oppressor to opt out will not give us the change we claim we seek.

    1. If the University wants to divide its faculty into “oppressors” and “oppressed, then I am all in favor of this proposal.

    2. Could the commentator clarify precisely what is “the change” “we” seek? Vague ideals stated in abstract language like “diversity, equity, and inclusion” will probably appeal only to those who for whatever reason already support the proposal. For those unconvinced, knowing in concrete terms what the sought-after changes are would be helpful, as would knowing how the required programming is well-tailored to achieve those changes. Surely proponents of the proposal can describe the changes they would like to see and to describe them with specificity. Indeed, once those changes are identified, why can’t the University simply promulgate rules designed to achieve them? More faculty members of a particular group? Require departments to hire accordingly. Require certain subjects taught? Require those subjects to be taught. More money for certain subjects? Allocate the money accordingly. And so on. Requiring certain actions to be taken is one thing. Requiring faculty to learn the tenets associated with a particular and controversial ideology, and to accept — or at least feign acceptance — of them, on pain of material sanctions, is another.

    3. “I strongly urge the University to come up with an EQUITABLE approach to improving our practice here at Cornell.”

      The word “equity” is like the word “justice.” It carries its moral valence in its very meaning. No one would object in the abstract to bringing “practice” into line with “equity” or “justice.” But the devil is in the details. What, more exactly, does “equity” mean? What “practice” are we talking about? The comment does not say.

      Suppose the “practice” involves the people who teach at the University. Now, what does “equity” mean applied to that practice? I don’t know with any real confidence, but from what I can gather from the reference to the cartoon, “equity” will be achieved in this domain only if and when the percentage of people who teach at the University and who identify with group X is the same percentage of people in some other population who identify with group X. Let’s say the relevant population is the population of the people in the United States. Suppose the percentage of people who identify with group X in the US is Y%, and the percentage of people who identify with group X and who teach at the University is Y-n%. The difference is therefore n percentage points. Thus, “equity” will be achieved only when the University increases by n percentage points the number of people who identify with group X and who teach at the University. If that is the goal — if that’s what “equity” requires — then the University should by all means take whatever steps are necessary to achieve that goal. What I fail to understand is why pursuing that goal, or any goal thought to be entailed by a commitment to “equity,” requires coercive faculty programming.

      The University wants to achieve “equity” involving the people who teach at the University? Then grant appointments across all University units only to people who identify with the relevant group, and grant no other appointments, until such equity is achieved. Doing so would achieve equity without trying to coerce thought. All it would coerce would be the actions of those in the relevant units responsible for sending appointment recommendations to the University. And the difference between coercing action and trying to coerce the ideas one believes to be true makes all the difference.

  11. Agreeing with others above that F represents infringements on academic freedom, which are of perhaps dubious efficacy in promoting the desired aims.

    Given the questionable efficacy, the potential threat to academic freedom seems a high cost.

    The proposed enforcement mechanisms (especially the complication of already fraught personnel actions) will likely strike many as heavy-handed to the point of offensiveness. This part of the proposal might be considered independently, of course.

    1. Thank you for your note which clearly identifies some major issues. It would be extremely helpful if you could suggest one or more edits of the F-report that would make it more acceptable to you. Remember that acting on the report (if at all) takes place at the next level which is basically the OFDD which comes equipped with a 27-person faculty board of advisors.


    2. I am quite confused, still, after reading the whole thread, about the threat to academic freedom. I’m required (in order to be up-to-date in my field, and to be accredited for my job) to read and listen to all sorts of things I don’t agree with. So it seems strange that you’d feel like _this_ instance of learning something you don’t want to learn would be somehow different from all the _other_ instances in which we do so.

      The only impact on academic freedom I can see is that if, after everyone goes through the process, certain kinds of racist language, supremacist lines of research, unjust community structures, and unequal treatment become taboo among the faculty. Are those the constraints on academic freedom you’re talking about? Because those seem productive of academic freedom for minority scholars to me, and their ability to survive in the university seems much to outweigh whatever would be lost from the creation of such a taboo.

      1. I don’t know what “accreditation” means here. Surely it doesn’t mean you will lose your job at Cornell, or otherwise be sanctioned, if you refuse to read “all sorts of things [you] disagree with.” But that, as I understand it, is precisely what the proposal contemplates.

        You want to eliminate “certain kinds of racist language, supremacist lines of research, unjust community structures, and unequal treatment become taboo among the faculty.” Cast in the abstract language in which they are cast, one would be hard-pressed to disagree with them. Who could be in favor of “racist language,” “unjust . . . structures” and so forth? But what do those abstract phrases mean? What “racist” language — which words — will now become “taboo”? Which “unjust . . . structures” will become taboo? Which “unequal treatment” will become taboo? Moreover, if these are the things you want eliminated, why can’t the University simply prohibit them, finding language everyone can understand to do so? Why can’t the University use its coercive power to change actions? Why must it use its coercive power to try to change beliefs? I have no objection to the use of coercion on my body. I object when it is used, albeit indirectly, on my mind.

        I believe the taboos you seek are already being created. I worry every day I enter class that I will say something that a student will find offensive. I no longer teach topics that I taught only a couple of years ago, and which I taught without anyone complaining that I was being offensive. I believe some of these topics would be of special interest to my Black students, and I can recall at least one Black student — who is now herself an academic — telling me so. I will not say what those topics are, because I don’t want to reveal my identity, and I don’t want to reveal my identity because I am afraid. I think many of my students are afraid too. All I have are anecdotes, but here is one: I was speaking with a student after one of my classes. The Zoom recording was still going, unbeknownst to me. The student had beliefs I would say are consistent with today’s progressive left, and also beliefs consistent with libertarianism. The student was from a country that had experienced dictatorial rule. In the middle of our conversation, the student asked if the video recording was still going. He was afraid that it might somehow be made public. I don’t think anything said during the conversation should have been especially controversial. We were just talking about ideas. But he was still concerned. I assured him I would ask our IT people for assurances that the recording, which I turned off once he brought it to my attention, would not be accessible to anyone but me and the IT people. Is that the type of University we are to become, where people are afraid to exchange ideas?

        I will be retiring soon. When I came here over 20 years ago I never thought I would believe it, but I now do: that day of retirement will not come soon enough. I find I now seek intellectual engagement outside the University and most of my colleagues. Perhaps some will celebrate this new reality. I don’t. I will stay quiet in the meantime, afraid for my livelihood, and will step aside soon enough. Perhaps that too will be cause for celebration.

        I like to think I am a good, decent person. Perhaps I am wrong about that. But I believe the “required programming,” whatever its intentions, is asking me to see myself as something other than a good, decent person. I’m afraid that is something I cannot do.

      2. I know of none of my colleagues who use what I would regard as “racist language,” who pursue “supremacist lines of research,” or who treat “unequally” their minority colleagues. I’m not sure what an “unjust community structure” is, or how my unit might conform or not to that description, so I can’t speak to that. In any event, surely the University already has in place mechanisms for dealing with faculty who use “racist language,” who pursue “supremacist lines of research,” or who treat their colleagues “unequally.” If not, then such mechanisms should be installed post haste. If such mechanisms already exist, then one is hard-pressed to see the need for the required faculty programming, especially in light of the belief that some commentators have that the required programming is part of an ideological world view with which they reasonably disagree.

      3. I’m at a loss to understand how one’s “ability to survive” is placed in jeopardy in the absence of the required programming the proposal contemplates. Is one’s “ability to survive” jeopardized just because others do not adhere to the ideology animating the programming?

      4. The analogy to the necessity of reading scholarship with which one disagrees does not work. Anyone who’s done research knows that in looking into something on which there’s been previous scholarship one finds not only things to disagree with, but also things to agree with. The proposed “education” requirement would compel some faculty members only to confront points of view with which he or she is in disagreement, while compelling others only to confront those with which he or she is already in agreement. Where’s the institutionally imposed necessity for everyone to confront “all sorts of things [they] don’t agree with”?

  12. I am opposed to the requirements for adding DEI questions on student evaluations and DEI statements on applications for faculty positions and tenure dossiers. Any participation in training programs should be voluntary not mandatory (I believe the vast majority of faculty would take the offered programs regardless, whereas more will refuse to take them if they are mandatory). There are no other aspects of our job where such training becomes a requirement of committee participation or ability to teach or supervise students or other trainees, so it is disturbing that the committee is recommending that anti-racism becomes such a requirement for those vital aspects of our jobs. It is also completely unclear how DEI statements will be judged or used by chairs or administrators, particularly when it comes to promotion. There is no data showing that they are of use at all nor if they accurately reflect a persons true view or actions (which always speak louder than words and would clearly be evident from any dossier with a good statement and documentation of teaching, mentoring and outreach). There is no data that such statements or student evaluations will make any difference at all to the policies or procedures of a university that still has not set an example of the standards it wishes to uphold by hiring URM/BIPOC in senior level positions (unlike the Biden administration) – just look at the current racial, gender and ethnic composition of the trustees and administrators on central campus and the colleges. It all looks great on paper…Cornell requires its faculty to write these statements or get evaluated on their inclusivity, but this is no reflection of and will not elicit a real change in mentality, attitude or policies. Faculty will jump through the hoops and play the game, but for what end….there is already evidence from searches that candidates search the web for the “best diversity statements” and then rephrase them. Is that really what we want for this institution?

    1. Thank you for these comments. I never thought about cut and pasting a well crafted online DEI statement into a dossier. It is obvious in retrospect given what we know about college application essays.

      But to your point, I have a different take on DEI statements. For example, if I was applying for a third-grade math teacher position, I would explain in my DEI statement how the base-ten positional system has its origins in China, India and the Middle East and that we owe those cultures big time for that gift. I would get out the map and talk about how we are all connected and perhaps point to the Yucatan and say the Mayans figured out base-60 because they have this supercool calendar etc.

      So here is where I think we might differ: Has the candidate/individual at least thought about how DEI shows up in their line of work? That’s what DEI statements mean to me. And if you are young and just starting out as a faculty member it is understood that there may not be a track record to write about and that is OK. But you can at least communicate a willingness to work on it.


  13. I deeply agree that the current F and S proposals are an attempt at indoctrination and are not in the spirit of free exchange of ideas and experience. At this point I am strongly opposed to them. Sincerely, Carl Franck, Senator for Physics

    1. Thanks for signing your name Carl .

      You were the force behind Resolution 151 (In Support of Continued Employment for Cornell Staff during the Covid-19 Crisis) that we passed last June. If I never thanked you personally for that I thank you now.

      I mention this because I would like to know how you think the staff will react to a Senate statement that says, in effect, that faculty engagement with DEI resources should be strictly voluntary. As you know from reading the F-report, all staff are required to complete a 6-part DEI program. Are you opposed to that? Or is engagement with DEI resources something that the staff needs and we do not? Or is it that we have to watch out for academic freedom and the staff do not? I am quite worried about staff perceptions and I am counting you to explain why I should not be losing sleep over this. These perceptions are important because as it states in the resolution that you co-authored “the Faculty Senate recognizes the vital role and contributions of university staff.”


      1. Thanks Charlie, your words are too kind (to give credit for that resolution where it’s really due: Sara Eddleman, the Associate Director of Admin in my laboratory, the wonderful and wise faculty colleagues (who are also my heroes) I worked with in the senate and so many other faculty who supported us and you, who greased the rails for us to do the best we can. Here you are doing it again! Finally, I deeply appreciate the actions that have been taken in Day Hall throughout the pandemic). I have been really going back and forth on this. Yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague in my department who I deeply admire who helped me flip on the issue (that followed an earlier discussion with another colleague on the other side that prompted my earlier posting to this webpage). He began with an argument that you gave us a few senate meetings ago: look at the sad history of earlier attempts to do something about structural racism. His argument is we really must do something universal and different this time. I really appreciate your concrete argument on this webpage you gave about systems of arithmetic. As we spoke of in the last senate meeting, we must avoid phony/perfunctory training programs which we have experienced. By way of contrast, my first colleague pointed out the excellent experience he had in a program regarding achieving diversity in faculty hiring recently (I’m thinking that the use of excellent actors is an aspect of good training, that jives with my experience). As you said at the last meeting: it will be up to Day Hall to give us an ultimate plan to be executed. I am really optimistic that future senates will be as activist as we just were on the matter of the dual degree program to correct mistakes. Sorry this is so windy: I now believe we can have decent education programs that inform faculty and students without thought control and don’t engage them in phony statements in annual reports. I love the Winston Churchill quote: You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else. OK Charlie, I accept your challenge to try to help get this right. Carl from Physics

      2. Thanks again Charlie. I wanted to acknowledge (with his permission) my faculty colleague in physics I spoke to yesterday who I mentioned in my reply to you this morning: Veit Elser.

  14. The “Final Report” of “Working Group F: An Educational Requirement for Faculty” leaves a remarkably loose end. Section 6 on pages 4-5 envisions a need for “incentives … to be put in place to ensure full participation” by faculty in the “educational requirement” that the authors of the submission wish to impose. It then goes on to recommend a menu of specific “incentives” with that purpose. The requirement would have to have been satisfied “if faculty wish to (a) hire students or staff for research in their labs and field offices (b) teach (c) supervise Teaching Assistants (d) advise and mentor students, post docs, and younger colleagues (e) advise or be involved in co- or extra-curricular activities, including student clubs or (f) be involved in student residential life as Faculty-in-Residence or House Deans.” None of these ineligibilities, by the way, is even hinted at in the “One-Page Summary” of the “Final Report.” But if those who have not acquired the mandated “education” are not permitted to “(b) teach” — slipped in as merely the second of six faculty functions that delinquent individuals may not fulfill — what will their status be? Are their appointments to be terminated? Even if they have tenure? Will they be placed on leave? Unpaid? Paid? Will they be on some other footing altogether? The “Final Report” of “Working Group F” never says. In any case, shouldn’t this rather significant omission be repaired before anyone seriously considers instituting a faculty “education requirement” with “incentives … to ensure full participation”?

    1. Thank you for your note and excellent that you went beyond the one pager for details.

      Distinguish between recommendations made by the Working Group and the possible implementation of those recommendations. The latter is the purview of the OFDD which has a 27-person faculty advisory board. It is there where the issues that you and others have brought up would be considered.

      The question is whether you think there is value in providing educational resources for a colleague who is about to step into one of these roles . And putting “sanctions” aside, what you would think of a colleague who avoided engagement with such resources on know-it-all or academic freedom grounds and then proceeds to screw up?


      1. What does it mean to “screw up”? So much of this discussion is cast in abstractions that one has a very difficult time knowing what exactly it is that the required programming is supposed to remedy. Please offer examples and please offer evidence that “screwing up” is so widespread that “required faculty programming” is necessary to remedy those “screw ups.” Evidence that the “required faculty programming” would work to remedy the “screwing up” would also be helpful.

        If concrete evidence of widespread instances of “screwing up” is unavailable, and if existing remedies are adequate to respond to the cases that can be identified, then one can be forgiven for wondering if the “required faculty programming” is designed not to change anyone’s words or actions, but is instead designed to encourage faculty to come to believe that the political ideology behind the programming is true. In other words, the programming is intended to change beliefs, not actions. That is where the objection to it lies.

      2. “Distinguish between recommendations made by the Working Group and the possible implementation of those recommendations”?

        You seem to be saying it’s fine for a committee to make very particular proposals about imposing sanctions (even radical ones like “no teaching”) for refusing to go along with this “education” regime, but to pay no attention to the consequences of those impositions, because they themselves don’t have the authority to implement the proposed sanctions? I don’t think so. In fact, what this handling of the “incentives” question shows is simply that this committee was either made up of or dominated by people who were more interested in compelling submission to their agenda than in thinking things through.

      3. I don’t understand how one can put “‘sanctions’ aside.” The sanctions are at the very heart of this proposal. The sanctions are the source of all the objections. And why put “‘sanctions'” in quotes? Putting a word in quotes suggests the word refers to something other than what it ordinarily refers to. But here, the “sanctions” are precisely that: sanctions. Indeed, I don’t see why the word “punishment” is not apt. There is a rule: Attend the required programing. There is a consequence for failure to comply with that rule. That consequence is a material burden. That burden is imposed with the intent to burden. Hence: punishment. Abstraction and euphemism should not be allowed to obscure what is at stake here.

  15. The Faculty Senate should reject the final proposals of both Working Group F and Working Group S, and send them back for reconsideration.

    As described in more detail below, these Proposals both individually and collectively impose an ideological orthodoxy and adherence to a Critical Race Theory (CRT) view of the world, in violation of the educational purpose of the University and faculty academic freedom as set forth in the recent University Policy Statement on Academic Freedom. The Proposals also will dramatically worsen existing free expression problems on campus which are not only obvious to anyone right-of-center at the University, but also have been documented in student surveys ranking Cornell low in free expression relative to peer schools. I address Proposals F and S together because they are interlocking in creating a coercive and punitive environment. This is not worthy of the educational mission of the University, which already has robust anti-discrimination policies and practices in place. We do not need to sacrifice academic freedom and free expression in order to achieve an environment that provides equal opportunity and equal treatment for all.

    (1) Proposal F starts with the compulsion that “Faculty must understand structural racism and the forces of systemic bias and privilege” (emphasis added). Later, Proposal F “requires” that faculty accept that “structural racism, colonialism, and injustice, and their current manifestations have a historical and relational basis.” That CRT worldview, which in its current incarnation is often misleadingly referred to as “antiracism,” is off the table for debate under this proposal. Rather, CRT becomes the official ideology of the University. The rest of the proposal dictates how that mandate will be implemented, including dictating “a framework for interacting with other faculty, with students, with members of the staff, and the broader community” with the faculty “educational requirement … to support the faculty in this effort.” Why such compulsion? This campus already is awash in CRT-driven programs, courses, events, workshops, and faculty and student activism, and the separately proposed Center will further the breadth of CRT-based education. These voluntary educational opportunities apparently are not sufficient to those supporting Proposals F and S. Rather than being introspective as to why the message is not resonating more broadly and engaging in debate, Proposal F (and separately, Proposal S) uses administrative power to impose the ideology on the campus.

    (2) Proposal F imposes an educational requirement on faculty that appears to twist the intention of President Pollack in her July Statement: “All faculty would be expected to participate in this programming and follow-on discussions in their departments. The programs would complement our existing anti-bias programs for faculty …” This statement clearly indicates an intention for voluntary faculty participation in workshops and teaching the subject matters to students, not that faculty themselves would have to go through compulsory training.

    (3) Proposal F violates the academic freedom of faculty by requiring not only ideological compliance (see above) but also ideological-based training to further “an understanding of structural racism, systemic bias, indigeneity, colonialism and related topics.” While Proposal F does not specify the exact content of the faculty training, it notes that the “content will be prepared by a cross disciplinary group of Cornell faculty colleagues, whose scholarship and expertise are focused on these questions.” In other words, the faculty who promote a CRT-agenda will be developing the faculty training content. There is no serious commitment in Proposal F to diversity of viewpoint (including anti-CRT viewpoints) in the educational requirement, and the clear implication is that this is indoctrination not education. If there is any doubt that compulsion is the method in Proposal F, it recites that “[a]ll faculty should see the need to participate in the educational requirement, regardless of their research expertise, scholarship, or personal positions. However, incentives need to be put in place to ensure full participation.” This should be chilling to anyone who truly cares about an open educational environment.

    (4) Proposal F also is contrary to the recent University Policy Statement on Academic Freedom, which “affirms the fundamental nature of Free and Open Inquiry and Expression” (emphasis in original). Proposal F italicizes the following words in the Faculty Statement on Academic Freedom to justify the proposed compulsion: “Academic freedom does not imply immunity from prosecution for illegal acts of wrongdoing, nor does it provide license for faculty members to do whatever they choose.” Proposal F thus takes a broad statement defending faculty academic freedom and expression, and turns it directly against those principles based on wording in one clause reflecting that there are limits on academic freedom. This is not a fair reading of the entire sentence or Statement, and would eviscerate faculty protections if interpreted the way used in Proposal F. Just as faculty cannot “do whatever they choose,” the Statement on Academic Freedom does not allow the Faculty Senate or administration to do “do whatever they choose,” and one of the things they cannot do is impose ideological uniformity on the faculty through punitive measures.

    (5) Proposal F also imposes a series of measures to ensure ideological compliance, including adding questions to course evaluations: “Course evaluations are a venue where individual instructors are held accountable.” There already are anti-discrimination policies on campus to ensure compliance with Cornell and legal requirements, including providing mechanisms for members of the community (including students) to file grievances. Incorporating such an informal grievance mechanism into course evaluations will have a chilling effect on lawful faculty free expression that fits within the scope of academic freedom, and indeed, that seems to be the purpose in Proposal F. This is part of pushing ideological uniformity directly into the classroom and coursework.

    (6) There are numerous other problems with Proposal F, particularly as related to tying faculty promotion and advancement to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” measures. This may sound anodyne, but in the context of the overall Proposal F plan, it is another cog in the ideological compulsion agenda.

    (7) Proposal F notes that “[t]he goal for the faculty educational program parallels the goals for the student educational requirement,” and for these same reasons Proposal S should be rejected. There already is a serious problem on campus with free expression, as documented in a survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and other free speech groups ranking Cornell 40th out of 55 schools surveyed. For all the reasons stated above, Proposal S will make this student free expression problem worse. Neither faculty nor students should have ideological adherence to CRT demanded of them, or should be forced to undergo CRT ideological instruction. We should not sacrifice student free expression and academic freedom anymore than we would our own.

    * * *

    For all the reasons above, the Faculty Senate should reject Proposals F and S and send them back to the Working Groups for reconsideration.

    Very truly yours,

    William A. Jacobson, Esq.
    Clinical Professor of Law
    Cornell Law School

    1. Thanks for the detailed comments and legal perspective.

      I like the way you couple F and S–they should rise and fall together. However for me it is more an educational connection: can’t deliver S without a more fully educated faculty.

      I also agree with you about there being an open speech problem on campus. I see it in the Senate and on these webpages where just a few percent of the faculty are willing to sign their posting. And it has nothing to do with being right of center.

      Now some questions.

      What is your advice to the OFDD were they to consider the implementation of the various accountability suggestions made in the F-report? Are they just too dangerous to touch or is there a way that they can be used to inspire better teaching, mentoring, etc?

      Do you see the social difference requirement in Arts and Sciences as a form of indoctrination? Here is the link:

      If so is it because certain courses aren’t on the list or that we just don.t have the courses that you would like to see. What about the use of menus in general?

      Are you also opposed to the WG-C recommendation for a center? If you read the report you will see that there is a coupling between C and S so I am curious about that. Also what are your thoughts about the proposed name “Center for Racial Justice and Equitable Futures” vs the original ” Center for Antiracist, Just, and Equitable Futures”?
      Does that change your opinion about having such a unit on campus?


      1. The above comment suggests the following argument. 1) The School of Arts and Sciences has a “social difference requirement” applicable to the students enrolled in that School; 2) The proposed faculty programming is analogous to the “social difference requirement;” 3) Therefore, if no objection is lodged against the “social difference requirement,” then none should be lodged against the proposed faculty programming.

        The weak premise is 2). The two forms of programming are not sufficiently analogous to sustain the conclusion.

        Here are two differences. One: So far as I’m concerned, Schools can require their students to take whatever courses the School believes the student should take to earn the degree the school confers. But faculty members are not students, although the required programming apparently regards them in that way. Two: If a student contemplating enrollment in the School of Arts and Sciences objects to its degree requirements, he or she can choose to attend another institution. Faculty already tenured at Cornell can of course leave if they object to the required programming. But is that truly what the University is telling us? Take this required programming. If you refuse you will be punished in some way, or if you wish not to suffer the prescribed punishment, leave. To the untutored ear that does not sound like a very inclusive thing to say, even when couched in the language of bureaucracy. The only way it becomes morally palatable is to assume that anyone who objects to the required programming must for that reason alone be a racist.

  16. Hi: I’m a scholar whose work includes repressive 20th century politics and authoritarian states, and I want to push back a bit against the comparisons being made in response to this proposal — they are deeply ignorant of the structural politics of the university, which too often serve to exclude black, indigenous, and undocumented students. The basic, daily indoctrination that the university participates in (and yes, all universities have ideologies, and all of them teach those ideologies to their students and faculty) explains away this exclusion through meritocracy, when it is really nothing of the sort. We put up monuments to racists, name our buildings after rich white men, and require English composition of all students. This proposal is methodologically identical to previous activity. It does not step across some sort of imaginary line past which is the “reeducation camp,” and to say so means to me that you need to read up on the reeducation camp.

    Underneath the comparison, I think, is an assertion of white rights that are separate, and placed against, black rights — what makes this proposal feel exotic, and uniquely offensive, to the commentators above is that it is intended (I have doubts about execution, and am only talking about intention) for black people, and the commentators are not black people, and they have never perhaps done anything with the express intent of helping black people. That’s why they make repeated comparisons to communism — they suspect they will have to share with the Other, and they don’t want to let the Other dictate terms. But black people are already here, and the university honestly can’t exist without them. Black people suffer here, this is a bad place for black people. So what are we going to do? Maybe not this, maybe this won’t work. But what, then? We will get nowhere if you are successful in your assertions of your rights to a) never think about blackness and b) remain in a state in which you are comfortable and used to the way the university disciplines your thoughts and actions.

    1. I believe a difference exists between the ways the commentator believes the university “disciplines” my thoughts and the way it proposes to “discipline” my thoughts and actions with the current proposal. The commentator gives three examples. The University “put[s] up monuments to racists, name[s] our buildings after rich white men, and require[s] English composition of all students.” The Univerity is free to remove whatever monuments it wants. It is free to rename the buildings however it wants. It is free to stop requiring English composition if it wants. Yet all those ways are different from the current proposal. None of them involved the University coercing me to listen to the propositions affirmed by a contested and contestable political ideology on pain of losing my job or otherwise being sanctioned for refusing to participate.

      The “Other” can use the University’s coercive power to “dictate” any terms the Other wants, when those terms are used to enforce conformity with norms governing my actions. What the Other cannot do, I believe, is to “dictate” terms when those terms are used to coerce my actions with the intent to conform my mind to the ideology of the Other.

    2. The commentator states: “The basic, daily indoctrination that the university participates in (and yes, all universities have ideologies, and all of them teach those ideologies to their students and faculty) explains away this exclusion through meritocracy, when it is really nothing of the sort.”

      Without more detail, one finds it difficult to know what to make of such broad claims. How, exactly, does this university “participate” in “basic, daily indoctrination?” What is the content of the doctrine it is trying to indoctrinate? How does its indoctrination work? How is the university “teaching” its ideology? What is the content of its “ideology.” If its ideology is “meritocracy,” and if that means it evaluates people and students in various ways based on something called “merit,” why is that wrong? If it’s wrong, in what ways is it wrong? What ideology should put in its place? Without knowing the nature of the ideology the commentator believes should replace whatever ideology he or she believes the University currently has, it’s difficult to know if the prevailing ideology is better or worse than the proposed replacement. Lastly, how does the commentator know that the commentators to which he or she refers are white? Perhaps they are, but doesn’t the claim that they are, without additional evidence, presuppose the kind of race-based generalizations one should have thought one should try to avoid. Does the commentator believe that only white people would express reservations about the proposal?

  17. I find it hard to believe that Cornell faculty, who are (on the whole) critical and intelligent, will be “indoctrinated” by workshops educating them about anti-racism. I don’t understand why anyone fears an anti-racism workshop might change how they think. Isn’t the whole point of further education that we might think and act differently?

    1. I agree. The comments that link the effort to policing and indoctrination seem to presuppose that we are a faculty of weak minds.


      1. No. It does not suppose that the faculty are of weak minds. It supposes that faculty who do not agree with the political ideology underlying the “required programming” should be coerced to listen to it. Moreover, the “coercion” is not a “narrative.” It is what it is: coercion. If someone refuses the “participate,” they will be punished in some way. That is coercion, not a “narrative” of coercion.

        Please don’t do this.

      2. The point is not about being weak. I know I can’t talk freely at Cornell. The problem is that those of us who dare to show that that disagree, are then subject to harassment. With the new proposal, those who speak up against the party line will also be subject to other sanctions.

      3. I disagree with you, Charlie. All these negative comments result from flaws in the report. The report’s first sentence asserts, “Faculty must understand structural racism and the forces of systemic bias and privilege.” Yet the report offers no reasons why faculty “must” understand this. Really, it’s not a report: it’s a command and an ultimatum. And it’s also poorly thought out. I support having a DEI-related question on course evaluations, and I imagine many faculty might, also. But the report proposes a DEI question on course evals as a way to “enforce compliance” with the education program– and this just offends the intelligence. Who says that participating in a hypothetical education program will correlate to positive responses on course-evals? The report is sloppy, incompletely thought out, and insulting. Charlie, you are mistaken to blame faculty for these negative reactions.

    2. You are way off the mark. No one fears that anti-racism workshops might change how they think. Give us a little more credit than that. What I do fear is that someone thinks it is a good idea to enforce compliance with a certain political viewpoint.

    3. No one would object to being offered opportunities to learn about “anti-racism.” I have read Kendi’s book. I have also read Pluckrose and Lindsay. What is objectionable is being coerced to attend “workshops educating . . . about anti-racism.” Of course, these forced workshops would be less objectionable — but still objectionable — if the ideas associated with anti-racism are presented alongside ideas associated with anti-anti-racism. But if the University, through its required programming, either intends, knows, or should know that in so requiring it is placing its official imprimatur on the proposition that the ideas associated with anti-anti-racism can no longer be discussed, or will no longer be tolerated — when they are being discussed, and are thus far being tolerated, outside the University — then surely one can then see why people worry the required faculty programming is at odds with academic freedom.

    4. I believe the point is being missed. The point is not that faculty will in fact be indoctrinated. The point is that they are being compelled to attend the envisioned workshops in the first place. I have no fear of learning different visions of the world. On the contrary, I welcome the opportunity. I enjoy the give and take of ideas. But that’s not what’s on offer. What’s on offer is being forced to attend a workshop conducted under the heading of “anti-racism,” which, so far as I can tell, is a controversial political and social philosophy. I’m happy to debate the merits of that philosophy, as I am the merits of any philosophy. But I doubt these workshops will be such that one can express counter-arguments and opposing points of view without risk of being called a “racist.” Let me explain the source of my doubts.

      Kendi writes: “[T]here is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and antiracist ideas.” As I read that statement, there is no in-between. It’s either-or. You’re either with-me-or-against-me. So if I doubt what I’m being “taught,” then my doubts must be racist. Is that the kind of philosophy or way of thinking the faculty will be required to embrace, or at least pretend to embrace for fear of losing their jobs? Is that the kind of thinking we want to impart to our students? I had thought that one mark of an academic mind was the ability to identify nuance and complexity, and to acknowledge the force of opposing ideas. As I read Kendi’s presentation of anti-racism, no such nuance or complexity exists. The world is simple. All ideas can be sorted into the racist category or the anti-racist category. That’s it. Now, one might say Kendi made the quoted statement for rhetorical effect. He did not mean it to be taken literally. But that’s what he wrote. Am I not to believe he means what he says?

      Suppose one of my students asks me whether the IAT is a good predictor of behavior. What is the anti-racist answer to that question, keeping in mind that the wrong answer (I’m supposing) must be racist? Suppose a student expresses an idea or opinion in class. Am I supposed first to determine whether the idea is racist or anti-racist, and if I determine it to be the former, to tell the student the idea is no longer permissible at Cornell? Suppose the idea the student expresses is some measure of skepticism about the predictive power of the IAT. Am I to tell the student his or her idea is racist and will not be tolerated at Cornell? One might think I’m exaggerating. After all, we’re only talking about a workshop for an hour or two. What could be the harm? “Isn’t the whole point of further education that we might think and act differently?” The harm, as I see it, is to a principle of non-coerced and open inquiry. Whatever other effects the envisioned programming has, I can attest to one effect it will have on me. It will tell me — despite any protestations from University officials to the contrary — that I should not deviate from whatever I’m told is anti-racist. But because I’m guessing I will never be sure which ideas are racist and which ideas are anti-racist — and remember all ideas must either one or the other — I can assure you I will be sure, for the sake of my livelihood, to stay far, far away from any idea I might remotely imagine to be close the racist line. Perhaps that state of mind is the state of mind the University wants me to possess each day I walk into the classroom, but if so, I cannot understand why.

      I had imagined myself to be a person of good-will who treated all my students with the respect any human being deserves, just because they’re a human being. But the fact that I’m writing this comment must, if anti-racism is true, mean that my self-image has been nothing more than self-deception. Perhaps we are all self-deceived. Everyone. We must therefore willingly submit to the education we’re being offered — though we have no real choice in any event — in order that we may all come to see who we really are, or perhaps in order that we may shape ourselves into what the ideology of anti-racism wants us to be.

      1. This is misunderstanding Kendi, taking the quote out of context. Regarding the systems via which people of different races interact and create policy that affects people of different races, “[T]here is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and antiracist ideas.” And I agree with Kendi. Injustice is persistently dealt to Black people in this country. It is part of the system, the atmosphere. It is something we breathe without understanding its chemical properties. Yet while I support anti-racism, I don’t think that requiring courses or practices from faculty is the way to go.

      2. If the comment above is a misunderstanding of Kendi, that is very good to know. But the main point, I think, remains: whether the comment understands or misunderstands Kendi, the question itself is a matter of disagreement, argument, disputation, and so on. And that’s what people privileged to teach in a University should be doing. They should not be subject to “required programming” in which, whatever its explicit message, its implicit message (at least to me) will be: Please be quiet and listen. You are here to learn. You are not here to do what we supposedly pay you to do during your day job: which is to disagree, argue, dispute, and so on — all in good faith — with your colleagues and your students, ostensibly in a search for something one likes to call the truth. Perhaps, instead, we are embarking, with this required programming being an important step, on the path to the post-truth Cornell University, though I’m not entirely sure I know what that means; and surely the University would not want to make its new post-truth mission an open and notorious part of its branding, even if that’s the truth (or post-truth).

        But if I’m told to just be quiet and listen during my “required programming,” do not worry. I will get the message. Once the programming is over and I enter the classroom, I will carry the message in my heart: I am not to say or do anything in any interaction with my students or anyone else that might conceivably be construed as anti-anti-racist. And, yes, I can be a good soldier. I will therefore stay very quiet. I will say nothing to challenge the ideas of any of my students, whatever their politics or philosophies. My courses will become as bland and uncontroversial as I can make them. If the Univerisity wants to continue to pay me to do that, all the better for me. All the worse, I should have thought, for my students.

        But maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe students today don’t want to be intellectually challenged. Maybe they want only to be safe. I think that’s a regrettable development. But, yes, I can be a good soldier. I can, and after my programming, I surely will, make my courses as safe as safe can be — and thus, no doubt, incredibly boring. All I will need to do, and all I will do, is lecture, lecture, lecture: anything to avoid actually interacting with students. Everyone will win: teaching will be a lot easier for me (it won’t take much effort to dumb down my lectures); the students will get their Cornell degree; the University will get its tuition; and life will go on. Safe and sound. All marching to the same drummer.

  18. In their report, the committee proposes to require all faculty to attend a “educational program” in which they will be instructed in the committee’s understanding of “structural racism and how systemic bias and privilege work,” along with learning “how to discuss and act on a range of difficult issues.” Although at least some committee members would probably resist the parallel, this educational program is remarkably similar to a “reeducation camp” in which the central administration would instill what it believes to be correct political values. In order to enforce compliance with this program, the committee proposes that the central administration maintain a black list of those faculty who refuse to attend this camp because, they maintain, anyone who refused to attend must harbor opinions the committee does not accept. This black list would then be used to prevent all those who refused to attend from serving in “any positions of authority in a department, college, and at the university.” For example, if a faculty member refused to attend this camp because he or she believed that it infringed on their academic and intellectual freedom which, in turn, they believed should be at the very heart of any ethical and moral university community, the committee would authorize the central administration to put that colleague on this black list, thus enabling the central administration to discriminate against them in one of the major forms of “shared governance” (President Pollack’s term for faculty consultation although she is quoted in support of this report). I considered offering amendments to the committee’s proposal but ultimately decided that it was far too flawed. This proposal should just be firmly and overwhelmingly rejected. If it were to be, unfortunately, approved, I would like to serve notice that I wish to be placed at the very head of the committee’s black list because I will certainly refuse to cooperate in this attempt, once more, to discipline the faculty into corporate conformity.

    Richard Bensel


  19. It very much reminds me of “Scientific communism,” a set of mandatory indoctrination courses, which were taught in all universities in the Soviet Union. If one tried to get out of it, they would be denied an opportunity to earn a post-doctorate degree.

    A resounding “no” to this idea.

    1. Can you share some details about the content of those Soviet courses? I want to understand why the F recommendations remind you of scientific communism.

      1. These include the mandatory nature of the courses, ideological underpinnings, ‘consequences’ (repressions, really) for dissent. So far, the antiracist agenda that has been trickling down the system feels like almost déjà vu for me who grew up in the USSR (the oppressor vs. the oppressed, dictatorship of the ‘proletariat’–once certain key terms are replaced, e.g. class with race, etc., the two begin to sound eerily similar). I don’t mind getting exposure to this point of view once but it’s nauseating to have to come back to it over and over again. People [in academia] should be able to vote with their feet (and that includes the student body). My suggestion is that all the new training remains optional and not connected with the administrative apparatus in any way. But I can also imagine that the things seemingly set in motion cannot be undone at this point in time, and that this idea will have to go all the way before its sad consequences are revealed.

  20. No disrespect to the President intended–that she thinks something is a good idea doesn’t seem to obviously lead to a requirement that we enable that idea. This one seems to me to be a bad idea which takes the university dangerously into the world of policing the faculty’s thoughts.

    1. Are there any subtractions from the report that would undo your policing concerns? Or is the whole idea of having faculty engage with these kinds of topics hopelessly flawed?

      1. “Having” faculty engage with these kinds of topics on a voluntary basis seems appropriate. But the idea of coercing the faculty to engage with these topics, by means of any form of punishment whatsoever, is hopelessly flawed.

  21. I am highly skeptical that this initiative will have any measurable impact, and I oppose it on this basis.

    1. Do you have a suggestion about what would have a measurable impact? A few more details behind your opposition would be welcome.

      1. I say this somewhat facetiously, but perhaps we are headed to the day when faculty will be required to take periodic IATs, with their compensation contingent upon performance. That would be one way to measure the impact, and after all, isn’t a change in the mind what this programming is designed to accomplish? And isn’t that what brings to the minds of intelligent people thoughts associated with the practices of the former Soviet Union? Anti-racists will dismiss such thoughts as hyperbole, proof that speaks for itself of the racism of those who disagree with them, but can they provide a clear, detailed picture of the world they envision? What does day-to-day life at the University look like in the world they wish to be? How does it differ from day-to-day life today? Won’t certain ideas no longer be permissible to speak of? I’m confident I can find citations to the work of critical race theorists who claim the ideas associated with classical liberalism are “racist.” If so, then does that mean we can no longer teach Locke? Or , if you don’t believe Locke is a classical liberalism, substitute the work of anyone who you do believe is a classical liberal.

        The debate over the required faculty programming should be seen for what it is. It is a debate over ideas. It is a debate over the truth. Surely all the comments above lend support to that belief. And in that debate, I do not believe the University should be lending its coercive powers to one side or the other.

  22. President Pollack’s letter states that “All faculty would be expected to participate in this programming and follow-on discussions in their departments.” It is unclear to me that her letter should be construed to mean “2.5 hours per year of required anti-racism training”, which is how the report responds to that request. In fact, her letter points to other forms of programming that we currently use in connection with gender discrimination and harassment, consisting mostly of shorter online courses, followed by some form of quiz.

    How was the decision made that a 2.5 hour “classroom” format would be the more appropriate response to the president’s request?

    Additionally, the president’s letter was written in the context of the BLM movement, and it speaks mostly of the Black experience in America. I was gratified to see that the report, similarly, focuses on this important and legitimate topic, although also recognizing that the Black experience is just one of our challenges.

    Indeed, recent years, have also seen episodes of racism directed towards Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Native People, and others.

    My own view is that the Black experience and its academic dimensions deserves direct and individual attention. But this does beg the question of what can and should be done with respect to these other cultural and ethnic groups. Would you contemplate eventually adding similar required training for each separate discriminated-against group? Or would you anticipate that training initially focused on the Black experience might later evolve to become a more holistic treatment of inclusion and diversity in all dimensions?

  23. This effort should be resisted at all costs. It is leftist political indoctrination, pure and simple, no matter how you try to sugar-coat it. Most alarming is the proposed required diversity statement for new faculty, which amounts to a political litmus test. And I say this as a lifelong Democrat with progressive political views.

    It is unthinkable to me that Cornell is even considering this. It is diametrically opposed to the principle of freedom of thought. If it passes, I intend to refuse to participate on the basis of that principle, no matter what the consequences, and I will encourage others to do so.

    1. I would join you if I had the courage. But I have a family to support. So I will do as I am told, and I will profess the thoughts I am supposed to profess. I would never have imagined that a University in this country would officially embrace an ideology that self-consciously looks upon people as members of racial groups and not as individual human beings. We all fall short of seeing one another as individuals, but I continue to believe that our aspirations should be in that direction, and not in the direction the proposed required programming will take us.

    2. If it comes to it, I would encourage you to create and circulate an on-line petition so that other faculty members who agree with your position can know they are not alone. One imagines the University will find it difficult to fire or otherwise “discipline,” as one post puts it, everyone who in good faith refuses to participate if the numbers are great enough. Then again, perhaps they won’t be. Perhaps most members of the faculty agree with the proposal. Or perhaps most members of the faculty will go along for fear of the promised discipline or for fear of being called “racist,” or perhaps just to go along so they can get on with other things. At this point, I don’t believe anyone knows what the faculty as a whole believes. I would like to know, but it doesn’t appear the University is taking any steps to find out. Perhaps they should. What harm would there be in finding out?

      1. Thanks. I would, if I did not fear being branded. It’s a small town and I have lots of friends across the entire political spectrum. No, I will simply quietly refuse to participate, come what may. Others are free to do the same.

  24. I am ashamed to be a member of the faculty of an institution where a committee of a faculty senate can decide, despite all the declaration towards respecting our academic freedom, to impose on the faculty a requirement that clearly violates this freedom and conscience.

  25. It looks like 1984 to me. I do not know how, but somehow we have to stop this craziness.

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