Resolution: SA R39: Calling Upon Cornell to Uphold its Ethical Guidelines for International Engagements

ActionRejected by the President


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Dear Cat,
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Student Assembly Resolution 39: “Calling Upon Cornell to Uphold its Ethical Guidelines for Ethical Engagements.” 
Cornell and its faculty work with academic partners worldwide, and collaborations are fundamental to our teaching, discovery, and engagement mission. Our programs in China are no exception, as they extend Cornell’s influence and values to scholars and students in that country, many of whom may never visit our home campus in Ithaca. We encourage responsible and ethical collaborations, even in locations where some of our faculty, students, and alumni have significant disagreements with the governments.
Cornell has been working with and in China for more than 100 years: a long history of meaningful exchanges reflecting Cornell’s commitment to academic freedom in the region. The knowledge-sharing and real-world solutions that spring from these relationships benefit the people of many countries beyond our own, contributing to the well-being of our global community.
Partnerships with foreign universities must adhere to Cornell’s rigorous academic standards and fundamental principles. All agreements include explicit protections of academic freedoms and prohibit discrimination against our students, faculty, and staff. Financial considerations do not influence these criteria.
The proposed dual-degree program between Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and Peking University is undergoing a rigorous review by the university that includes robust discussion with multiple groups. As per policy, the Graduate Committee of the Graduate School reviewed the proposal, as did the Committee for Academic Programs and Policies in the Faculty Senate. The proposal passed both reviews with unanimous approval. The proposal then went to the full Faculty Senate for discussion and was subsequently sent for an additional layer of review to the International Council, a group comprising senior leaders from Cornell’s colleges and schools and chaired by the Vice Provost for International Affairs. We expect a final decision by the end of the academic year.
Student Assembly input is valued and is an important part of the evaluation process.  While I do not support Resolution 39, I appreciate hearing your perspective, and thank you for sharing your concerns.
Martha E. Pollack
Martha E. Pollack
President, Cornell University
300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Tel: 607-255-5201