The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed


The Cornell Daily Sun just published a story entitled, President Pollack Justifies 2023-2024 Academic Year Theme of Freedom of Expression.

However, the Babbling Bear is not, I repeat, not worried that Cornell University’s Steering Committee for Free Expression, despite its name, will do anything to promote free expression that will subject us to hate speech or offend us.

I hear that, in forming the Steering Committee for Free Expression, President Pollack has not reached out to any of the racist, homophobic, transphobic trouble makers on campus who advocate for free expression. The ones who incessantly cause microaggressions.

Thankfully, the members of the Steering Committee for Free Expression are nothing like Nadine Strossen, Alan Dershowitz, Keith Whittington, Nat Hentoff and other racist, homophobic, transphobic, white supremacists, whose speech is violence and who, by speaking, cause harm to members of historically, presently, and futurely marginalized communities.

The Cornell University Steering Committee for Free Expression is composed of five people who have bona fides in social justice. The Steering Committee for Free Expression is composed of, what I will call the DEI 5:

Eve De Rosa, the Mibs Martin Follett Professor in Human Ecology and dean of faculty, and who created Pathways to Social Justice. De Rosa said “Just having that conversation across the University will be really meaningful,” De Rosa said, “especially as we start to bring more diversity into the faculty.”

G.S. Hans, associate clinical professor of law and associate director of the First Amendment Clinic at Cornell Law School, who is “an expert on First Amendment law and technology policy, Professor Hans analyzes, through research and advocacy, the legal and policy issues implicating technology and civil liberties. Professor Hans also researches and works on issues relating to clinical legal education, with a particular focus on social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Kavita Bala, dean of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, who has said, “I hope we can continue to build up so that we can create an equitable, inclusive and diverse student body.”

Colleen Barry, dean of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy , who has said, “[w]hether it’s environmental policy, challenges in technology or confronting historical racism that’s embedded in policy, we are teaching the students the tools toward equity.”


Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations, who got his bona fides in our kind of free expression by kicking Jessie Watters off campus. According to the Cornell Daily Sun:

A statement released Tuesday by Joel Malina, vice president for university relations, emphasized that Cornell believes in “exposing students to a diverse set of perspectives.”

“Our decision to apply our media policy to Fox News, as we do to all news outlets, was motivated by our responsibility to protect student privacy.

The Steering Committee for Free Expression is also composed of two wild cards:

Kelly E. Cunningham, chief of staff and special counsel to the president (but when has a consigliere, except for John Dean, turned on a president?)


Rachel Dunifon, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology, whose only downside seems to be that she has a dead link on Google Scholar to her homepage. The investigative journalists at the Babbling Bear will continue to check the possibility that the dead link used to contain microaggressive and harmful hate speech.

So you see, Cornell University will remain a safe space even if the Cornell University community and the National Press have been hoodwinked…or to coin a new word, hoodwoked.


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