Cornell Dean Accused on Video of Advising on Starting Hamas, ISIS Clubs and Setting Up ‘Training Camps’

Update: The editorial board of The Cornell Review would like to clarify that it had no connection with the making of the Project Veritas video featuring an Assistant Dean at Cornell. The Review covered this story to highlight what was already national news to the Cornell community. Individual members of the Review have expressed varying attitudes toward the video and their personal opinions do not reflect the views of the entire staff. Neither I nor anyone in the Review ever endorsed this video's content or the methods by which Project Veritas produced it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- James O'Keefe of Project Veritas strikes again, this time at Cornell. View video here.

Cornell President David Skorton responded to Project Veritas’s video: Skorton Cornell ISIS

27 Comments on Cornell Dean Accused on Video of Advising on Starting Hamas, ISIS Clubs and Setting Up ‘Training Camps’

  1. You’re making vague statements to a disinterested student services professional. Speaking in terms of helping freedom fighters “in” the islamic state can easily be interpreted to mean the groups in that region fighting against ISIS. Anything funded such as your disingenuous requests for a “freedom fighter” speaker or training camp would receive more approval than the surreptitious recording of a bored administrator and would be denied if it were an ISIS member as opposed to an actual freedom fighter (ie: a kurd or one of the american veterans gone over to fight ISIS).
    This is a melodramatic sham.

    • Gus, your comments are melodramatic shams.

      First, we didn’t make this film. If you had actually watched it, you would have known that.

      Also, Mr. Scaffido is an Assistant Dean, which is a pretty substantial title even if in reality it doesn’t hold much actual weight. This video reveals an Assistant Dean at Cornell is OK with students inviting ISIS members to campus and organizing a club in support of Hamas. Maybe he was disinterested and bored. That’s no excuse. Either he was sleeping on the job, is extremely ignorant, or is actually OK with what was proposed.

  2. *require more approval

  3. Ninad Thanawala // March 25, 2015 at 1:16 am //

    This video is a prime example of unethical journalism and misleading video editing. But don’t take my word for it; journalists, including conservatives, have recognized that the work of James O’Keefe, the organizer of “Project Veritas” has a long-standing track record of sham reporting.

    • We have no way to determine if there was any misleading video editing. As for it being unethical, well, New York is a two-party consent state when it comes to videoing/recording (and I highly doubt this guy consented to being videod) so there could be some trouble there. It doesn’t change what Scaffido said though.

      • Ninad Thanawala // March 25, 2015 at 1:38 am //

        I’m not referring to the ethics of actually capturing the video, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m referring to the ethical practices of publishing truthful material. At best, Scaffido is just describing the process of organizing on campus and procuring speakers; at worst, Scaffido is the archetype of an apathetic administrator.
        A few immediate pieces of evidence that the video was misleading jump out. The interviewer refers to ISIS exclusively by its full name, the “people in the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria”, the use of which is ambiguous, but the narrator exclusively calls it ISIS (much less ambiguous). Analogously, the use of “freedom fighter” vs. “terrorist” is also a very deliberate choice by O’Keefe to spin the situation.

        • There is no distinction between an acronym and the phrase or full name to which it stands for. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is ISIS, as the USA is the United State of America, the PRC is the People’s Republic of China, the EU is the European Union, etc.

          I understand, and really hope, that ignorance/apathy/boredom played a role here, but this is not a situation where pleading ignorance absolves you of any wrong doing, fault, or embarrassment.

          • Ninad Thanawala // March 25, 2015 at 6:46 pm //

            This issue simplifies itself to a question that we both have the same answer to. If the interviewer had said ISIS in place of it’s full name, would Scaffido have responded in the same nonchalant way? No. My issue is not that you agree with O’Keefe’s position, but rather that you fail to accept the undeniably fundamental fact that language can be used misleadingly.

          • And O’Keefe has a long history of editing tapes to push an agenda. Exposed in the case of ACORN. Exposed again here.

  4. Gus and Ninad are right. This is shit journalism. The way the guy was referring to ISIS was misleading and the way this video described this professional is misleading. I’ve spoken to Joseph Scaffido before. He’s an administrative guy who works in Willard Straight…hardly an authority or a representative of Cornell University

  5. I used to work with Joe when I was a student and he is a very dedicated administrator. The references to ISIS or Hamas were glossed over whereas the real emphasis and context was humanitarian efforts. At worst, Joe in this video is guilty of assuming the best of a potential student and it’s not crossing his mind at all that this person is trying to support terrorists.

  6. Actually, you never actually mentioned “ISIS.” You mentioned what it stood for, and there is a high percentage change that he doesn’t know what it is. The fact that you titled it as you did and even shared this video shows that you have absolutely no place covering anything at this University. You are an imbecile. I really hope you get further criticized for sharing something like this, and that the video is taking down, mostly due to the fact that this poor guy is now going to get a wave of shit sent his way by quick-to-share, irrational, shitty people like you.

  7. This is a very good example of what passes for “journalism” in the age of the internet. Reminds me of the famous “Acorn videos” and the “Obama’s grandmother in Kenya” audiotapes that were easily debunked.

    My first question would be simple. Why doesn’t ” Veritas ” put the entire interview on line? Unedited.
    2. Why are there cuts and delays between the “questions” and the answers by the Cornell official?
    3. Why does “Veritas” try to imply imply that the Cornell official would support a terrorist when the interviewer never says that ISIS MEMBERS are involved. He very clearly says that “freedom fighters” in ISIS controlled territory would be given humanitarian aid. As I look at it that means the “freedom fighters”, the people fighting AGAINST ISIS , would be given help. Yet, the interviewer reinterprets that to mean ISIS. Very questionable.
    4. This is a very good example of an individual deciding ahead of time to try to misrepresent someone at Cornell and to carefully edit the tape to make a person seem bad by innuendo. This was a technique used by Breibert all the time. It is a good example of the new form of “yellow journalism”.
    5. Why not ask directly? Would Cornell allow an ISIS fighter or someone who supported ISIS to raise money and speak on campus?
    It is good that this was posted on your website. It gives people a good look at how Veritas (which is supposed to mean “truth”) actually operates. Reminds me of another organization that called itself “The Truth”. the old Soviet newspaper, “Pravda”.

  8. David Breznick // March 25, 2015 at 10:59 am //

    Maybe the assistant dean was merely confused by the full wording of the acronym ISIS. Regardless, somebody holding an administrative position within a distinguished university ought to know what is happening beyond campus borders that impacts America. Even if not actually a terrorist sympathizer, the assistant dean revealed to the world that he is clueless.

    Not too long ago at work, I was discussing with a colleague a documentary that I had just seen on Home Box Office. He professed not to know what was Home Box Office. I had to tell him that this was HBO. True story.

  9. A few observations from a big fan of Veritas.. Critics saying Joe’s position isn’t as high of level as other staff are completely missing the point – it doesn’t matter even if your a poop scooper for Cornell, NO ONE should be accepting of ISIS.
    Some critics are saying this video is similar to the ACORN videos, but again, that’s false. ACORN was a shit organization thru and thru and wer exposed and shut down thank God.
    I am a big fan of Veritas, but I do agree with the flaming liberals on one thing – it’s clear in the video that Joe has no clue the student is talking about ISIS. However, Hamas is not abbreviated and Joe goes along with that too.. but again, it seems he really is just clueless about who they are more than being accepting of a known terrorist group.
    So I think Veritas missed the mark on this one pretty bad, but I still like them and I applaud their ongoing effort to expose the fraud and twisted cheats that exist out there.

    • I suggest you view the video and tell us at what point the “interviewer” says that he wants to set up training camps for ISIS and the immediate response to that. He constantly says “humanitarian” and “freedom fighters”. The freedom fighters are fighting AGAINST ISIS.Without cuts or editing. We saw the same thing with the highly edited ACORN videos. Chop. Chop. Cut. Cut. re-edit. Black becomes white. White becomes black.

      Selective editing is the difference between information and propaganda. It is very easy to edit anything anyone says to make it seem sinister.
      An honest disagreement is one thing. Intentional misinformation is something else.

      It is like the “reality show” videos. I know a person in the industry who has told me that you can edit those to make a person look nice or mean or stupid or anything you want.
      My question to the ironically named “Veritas” is the same question I had for the highly edited Breibert “exposes”. Why not release the entire, unedited video? What are you afraid of?

      The Cornell administrator was simply letting this potential student know that Cornell accepts a wide range of speakers on campus. He obviously is trying to be nice and show that Cornell is a tolerant place. A liberal university. That is exactly what a good university is supposed to be.

      A university where someone can speak no matter how odd or weird their ideas may be. Even people like Ben Carson have been invited to campus. He has said that Obama is a Nazi and prison makes people gay. Can’t get much sillier than that. But still Cornell allows it. Does that make Cornell a right wing institution that caters to wingnuts? Or just a place where all ideas are welcome?

      If you liked this tape I have one on Bigfoot that you will really believe !

  10. This is business as usual for O’Keefe. You may recall the highly edited “ACORN” prostitution tape. The one where O’Keefe and his friend claim they were able to get an ACORN employee to help them set up a prostitution ring. What O’Keefe did not tell his gullible viewers was that IMMEDIATELY after leaving that office the ACORN employee called the police to tell them that these people were trying to set up a prostitution ring. The ACORN employee got as much information as he could, then called the police IMMEDIATELY. This part of the story was never covered by Fox News.
    In another ACORN tape they claimed a woman at ACORN was helping a prostitute lie to get money for housing.. They ask her how to do so. They edit the tape where she says “Good luck and keep trying”. But actually that part of the tape she has told them SHE CAN’T HELP THEM but she wishes them luck and hopes they don’t give up on finding a place to live.

    To Veritas fans. Don’t be gullible. .

  11. A little research would show that this O’Keefe character has paid a fine (settlement actually) of $100,000 for his intentionally misleading “ACORN” tapes. This is just another example of his method. Hopefully Cornell and the man who was slandered will be able to take legal action. You may ask, is this really slander or libelous? I do not pretend to know the technical legal definitions and whether this falls into those categories. But consider. The man being accused is not a public figure. Well, the tape is edited and the narrator clearly accuses this man of being willing to provide assistance to ISIS. That is not only a serious charge but may be a criminal offense. The tape accuses this man of supporting terrorists. Not to be taken lightly. Free speech does not give one the right to intentionally distort the words of another. We shall see.

  12. Come on Casey, the interviewer referred to ISIS as “the people in the Islamic states of Iraq and Syria”, it’s very easy to think that he was talking about the people who live in those countries and need “humanitarian aid” as he puts it.
    Also referring to terrorists as “freedom fighters” leads one to believe he is talking about the people fighting ISIS and not those in it.
    If he really wanted to know how this guy felt about the university allowing terrorists to recruit on campus he’d have used the term “ISIS” and not the word humanitarian or “freedom fighters”.
    Hack “journalism”….

  13. OK, we could argue that the Assistant Dean is not openly supportive of ISIS or Hamas but is simply ignorant of what they stand for or wildly optimistic about the humanitarian intentions of the potential student. But even if he were clearly supportive of ISIS and Hamas, why all the fuss? Why would we expect anything different from university staff anywhere in America? They tend to worship liberalism and the idea that all views are equally valid (except conservative American views.) Conservatives (but only if they are here) are viewed as clinging to primitive and myopic traditions from an irrelevant past. Outside the USA, conservative ideals are cultural traditions. So what if a terrorist group (of ultra-conservatives “over there”) wants to behead those with views they won’t tolerate? Liberals (here) will still embrace them as part of what they believe is inherently good multiculturalism while liberals (over there) are raped, beheaded, crucified, or burned alive in a cage. Your tax dollars at work. It isn’t just Cornell.

    Many comments point out that it is vague who the freedom fighters are fighting. But there should be a lot of red flags popping up in an American’s mind when being asked to support anyone fighting in Iraq and Syria or Hamas and looking to set up a training camp on campus. He should be expressing concern and asking questions, which he doesn’t do (at least in the edited version we are shown) in the video. Of course, he is proudly liberal, which is clear from his glorification of Ithaca’s liberal community. So perhaps in a liberal mind there is nothing valid about America’s past or traditions or heritage or culture worth defending – and with nothing to defend, those internal red flags that should pop up in the mind – don’t. The problem has been spreading for generations, and just gets worse under a president with a chip on his shoulder about America’s traditions.

  14. Reblogged this on MANY PROPHETIC CLUES WARN US – THIS WORLD'S FINAL 3.5 YEARS ARE FROM JUNE 2016 TO DECEMBER 2019 and commented:
    OK, we could argue that the Assistant Dean is not openly supportive of ISIS or Hamas but is simply ignorant of what they stand for or wildly optimistic about the humanitarian intentions of the potential student. But even if he were clearly supportive of ISIS and Hamas, why all the fuss? Why would we expect anything different from university staff anywhere in America? They tend to worship liberalism and the idea that all views are equally valid (except conservative American views.) Conservatives (but only if they are here) are viewed as clinging to primitive and myopic traditions from an irrelevant past. Outside the USA, conservative ideals are cultural traditions. So what if a terrorist group (of ultra-conservatives “over there”) wants to behead those with views they won’t tolerate? Liberals (here) will still embrace them as part of what they believe is inherently good multiculturalism while liberals (over there) are raped, beheaded, crucified, or burned alive in a cage. Your tax dollars at work. It isn’t just Cornell.

    Many comments point out that it is vague who the freedom fighters are fighting. But there should be a lot of red flags popping up in an American’s mind when being asked to support anyone fighting in Iraq and Syria or Hamas and looking to set up a training camp on campus. He should be expressing concern and asking questions, which he doesn’t do (at least in the edited version we are shown) in the video. Of course, he is proudly liberal, which is clear from his glorification of Ithaca’s liberal community. So perhaps in a liberal mind there is nothing valid about America’s past or traditions or heritage or culture worth defending – and with nothing to defend, those internal red flags that should pop up in the mind – don’t. The problem has been spreading for generations, and just gets worse under a president with a chip on his shoulder about America’s traditions.

    • The highly edited video shows exactly what O’Keefe wants to show. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is why the editor had to pay $100,000 in the past for his deceptive ACORN videos. Because he has a long history of editing out portions that do not fit his narrative.
      And even the highly edited tape never has the assistant dean saying he supports ISIS or Hamas.. NEVER. In fact, the “interviewer” STRESSES that he wants to have some kind of HUMANITARIAN aid. You cannot even tell by the video what questions the dean is responding to, since it is so highly edited. You may want to ask yourself…why doesn’t O’Keefe simply release the ENTIRE interview?
      And yes, liberals do believe in free speech. Why are you so afraid of defending that American tradition? Why are you so afraid of ideas? Liberals do believe in hearing all sides of an issue. Don’t be afraid to listen to others. Perhaps that is why Cornell has invited Ben Carson to speak on campus. And why they had a member of the Israeli military speak on campus. Liberals are not afraid of ideas they find repulsive. We welcome open debate. That, my friend, is the real American tradition. Embrace it.
      And thank god you live in a nation with such highly developed liberal traditions.

      https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-liberals-are-coming-the-liberals-are-coming/

  15. David Breznick // March 31, 2015 at 11:53 am //

    JU, I found this on the Project Veritas website:

    QUESTION: You settled a $100,000 lawsuit with ACORN. How can you defend this?

    James O’Keefe’s ANSWER: “That lawsuit had nothing to do with lying or doctoring footage — it was over an invasion of privacy. Some states have recording statutes that require you to get permission from the person you’re filming. California, where I was, is one of those states. I argued that that statute is unconstitutional.

    “Oh, and by the way, the liberal media outlet Mother Jones won the prestigious Polk Award for doing the exact same thing to Mitt Romney. They did it in Florida, a two-party consent state just like California. But nobody cared when Mother Jones did it. You have to be consistent — you can’t support undercover journalism in Florida against Mitt Romney but not in California against ACORN. The hypocrisy is laughable.”

    • Dave.I wrote a long response and then somehow deleted it, so you are spared. I will keep it short and to the point.
      Mr. O’keefe is a known liar and if I were a serious conservative he is the last guy II would try to defend. That said. Let’s look at his statement.
      He claims that “Mother Jones” did the same thing to Romney that he did to ACORN. Patently false.
      Mr Romney is a public figure. As such he is open to criticism and even falsehoods (Look at the lies told about Mr Obama). A private person , speaking privately, is not in the same category.
      Mr Romney was speaking openly to a group of people. Making an unsolicited public statement. The person making the tape did nothing to entrap Mr Romney or encourage specific types of statements.In the ACORN and Cornell cases Mr ‘Okeefe (or his associate) were taping private individuals who were speaking in private. In both cases they were answering questions to the best of their ability.
      The statement made by Mr Romney was unedited. The ACORN and the Cornell tapes were highly edited to make a person appear to do or support something he did not support.
      Mr O’Keefe suggests this is “undercover journalism”. Not true. His tapes are not journalism because they attempt to distort a person’s actions or views. Journalism is supposed to report, not distort.

      Mr O’Keefe tries to claim that his ACORN videos were not doctored or lies. In the tapes he claims he was dressed as a pimp and his girl was dressed as a prostitute. The unedited tapes showed he wore a shirt and tie. His ACORN tape claimed an ACORN employee was helping bring in prostitutes. Another lie. The facts say something else. He broke the law. The only reason he was not charged is because he agreed to turn over ALL the unedited tapes. Which showed that he lied. He paid $100,000 and escaped prosecution. Too bad.

      I know you trust the Forbes site so I found an article you may find interesting. It discusses Mr O’Keefe in some detail.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/03/08/james-okeefe-pays-100000-to-acorn-employee-he-smeared-conservative-media-yawns/

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