Resolution: SA R41: Disengaging Cornell from the War in Yemen

ActionRejected by the President


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Dear Anuli,
As you know, Cat conveyed to me Student Assembly Resolution #41, “Disengaging Cornell from the War in Yemen,” for my consideration.
Since the university’s founding, Cornell’s faculty and programs have had many working relationships and formal agreements with academic institutions around the world. These academic collaborations are important to our mission of teaching, discovery and engagement and are carried out in a way that is consistent with our fundamental commitments to academic freedom and the free flow of information. Time and again, these partnerships have led to outcomes that benefit the people of many countries, including our own.
Most collaborations with institutions outside the U.S. are the product of faculty engagement. In these relationships, Cornell follows a set of Guidelines on Ethical International Engagement that were developed by Cornell’s International Council, a group composed of senior leaders from each of Cornell’s colleges and schools and chaired by the Vice Provost for International Affairs. These guidelines are intended to help faculty members collaborate with research partners in areas of the world where certain forms of speech and expression may be prohibited or limited, and they emphasize the importance of ensuring that international engagements are consistent with Cornell University values, including free and open inquiry and expression; diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination; and justice and human rights, among others. Additionally, when there are concerns about violations of academic freedom or other core Cornell values in faculty international engagements, the guidelines can help faculty members to carefully consider and develop an appropriate response with assistance from university leadership.
The university’s primary purpose is to further the education of its students, and the general public, through teaching, research and engagement. It is not primarily an agent to direct social or political action, but rather an open forum for analysis, debate, and the search for truth. As a university, we support an environment where all views can be heard, tested and debated, and we encourage faculty and students to be active in policies and issues that affect our campus, the nation, and the world — and to make their views known. Moving forward, we will continue to communicate our principles clearly and ensure the activities of all our global partners support and reflect those commitments.
Considering Cornell’s history of successful and productive relationships abroad and our robust international engagement guidelines, I am reluctant to place limits on the ability of the university’s faculty to engage in international collaborations. As a result, I must reject this resolution.
Thank you again for bringing these concerns to my attention and for the ongoing engagement of the SA.
Martha E. Pollack
Martha E. Pollack
President, Cornell University
300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Tel: 607-255-5201