The Student Assembly (SA) struck down a resolution that would have requested for the creation of a committee to “increase and improve faculty ideological diversity” in a 10-11-1 vote on Thursday.
SA President Jordan Berger ’17, who can only vote in the event of a tie, provided the necessary thumbs down to the proposed diversity initiative.
The resolution, titled “Expanding Ideological Diversity among Faculty Members”, was put forth by SA representative Mitchell McBride ’17 and cited a Cornell Sun report from 2015 that found over 96% of Cornell faculty political donations went to Democrat campaigns or liberal/progressive causes.
The resolution reads in part: “universities ought to be places where debate and dissent exists in order to ensure knowledge is expanded” and “students can create better arguments and challenge subtle assumptions when dealing with differing viewpoints.” The full resolution can be read here.
A number Cornell College Republicans also supported the proposal.
According to Irvin McCullough ’18, a Cornell Republicans member present at the meeting, opponents of the resolution mainly argued the following three points: (1) conservatives have not been historically oppressed as have other groups; (2) spending resources on intellectual diversity diverts resources from promoting other forms of diversity; and (3) conservative students are free to speak out in class if they find something disagreeable or wish to argue their own point of view.
It should be noted that the resolution, while referencing the stark imbalance in political donations between left and conservative campaigns and causes, did not explicitly call for hiring more conservative faculty.
After the meeting, McBride, a government major, told The Cornell Review that Cornell’s government department has no conservatives, despite the fact that the GOP controls two branches of the federal government and the majority of state governments. McBride also expressed concern with bias in faculty hiring, doubting whether faculty act impartially when considering potential professors’ political leanings.
“I find it disheartening and demoralizing that my fellow student leaders do not believe in all types of diversity as they claim. Ostensibly, they believe in supporting aspects of diversity that they agree with, but not others,” McBride said in a statement after the meeting.
“I hope, albeit doubt, that the leftist faculty of Cornell will take action to resolve this problem of diversity. Maybe our wisest Trustees might finally step up to the plate to resolve the problem which the faculty lets persist.”
William Jacobson, Review faculty sponsor and professor at the Cornell Law School, is perhaps Cornell’s most outspoken conservative faculty member and runs the popular legal and political blog Legal Insurrection.
In a statement Jacobson described the resolution as “moderate and reasonable,” and noted it called for a committee to study the issue and not a specific outcome about faculty hiring or makeup.
“The rejection of the Resolution seems to highlight the need for the relief sought in the Resolution,” Jacobson said.
Indeed, the proposed resolution did accomplish one thing: exposing, as it is exposed every so often, the complete intellectual dishonesty of the campus left.
The resolution’s failure also gives insight into why the overwhelming majority of #FeeltheBern and #ImWithHer students are so woefully unable to mount even the feeblest of defenses of their ideas. The lack of ideological diversity is really only a disservice to those students whose political ideas, fostered by late-night television show hosts and fellow social media virtue signalers, are never challenged.
How the reps voted:
Mitchell McBride, VP of Operations
Diana Li, VP of Finance
David Cox, CALS rep
Edem Dzodzomenyo, Freshmen rep
Hamish MacDiarmid, Arts and Sciences Rep
Jung Won Kim, Undesignated Rep
Lee Lipschutz, Hotel rep
Ryan Musto, Freshmen rep
Ashwin Viswanathan, Freshmen rep
Naj Jaisinghani, Transfer rep
Jordan Berger, President
Matt Indimine, Executive VP
Akhi Issur, International rep
Dustin Liu, LGBT rep
Hanna Reichel, AAP rep
Julia Montejo, Minority rep
Mayra Valadez, First Generation rep
Noah Chovanec, ILR rep
Richard Wang, Arts and Sciences rep
Traci Celestin, minority rep
Tristan Magloire, Freshmen rep
Alex Iglesias, Human Ecology rep