Support pours in for major donor calling for Cornell president to step down over DEI

Calls for Cornell to end its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are mounting and a major donor is also demanding that the school’s president resign.

Cornell major donor and trustee emeritus Jon A. Lindseth wrote a scathing letter to the school’s board, calling for the ousting of the president, according to Fox News.

“Replace the President and the Provost,” he told the board of trustees in the letter.

“Eliminate DEI staffing and programming. Revert to Open Inquiry, Academic Freedom, Free Expression, and Viewpoint Diversity on campus,” Lindseth bluntly told the board.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“Fox News Digital learned that as of Thursday, the letter was mailed to each trustee, and will likely be fresh in their minds as they head into an emergency board meeting on Friday, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News Digital. The trustees’ calendar shows they are scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday in New York City,” Fox News reported.

Cornell President Martha Pollack’s future is in doubt as Lindseth calls for her to resign. He has garnered substantial support backing his demand and wants her to resign on Friday as part of the meeting agenda.

“The letter was also sent directly to the trustees’ chairman, Kraig Kayser, who is reportedly having conversations about it, but has not responded to Lindseth, the source said,” Fox News wrote.

“For nearly seven years, I have strongly supported President Pollack, and that support remains strong today,” Kayser declared via a statement that was given to Fox News Digital on Thursday. “The board is working effectively with the administration to respond to various challenges facing higher education and opportunities to advance the university’s mission.”

Lindseth is reportedly “alarmed” by the school’s embrace of DEI initiatives in all academic fields. He put forth that Cornell is reportedly “hiring faculty based on race rather than academic merit,” and noted “failures to support faculty members choosing to exercise free expression and academic freedom.”

“I am proud to count myself one of several generations of Lindseths who are Cornell alumni and invested donors, but I am alarmed by the diminished quality of education offered lately by my alma mater because of its disastrous involvement with DEI policies that have infiltrated every part of the university,” he said in the fiery letter.

“Today, the instruction Cornell offers is in DEI groupthink applied to every field of study. The result is a moral decay, some call it ‘rot,’ that falls in line with prevailing ideology and dishonors basic principles of justice and free speech,” Lindseth charged

He has stopped donating to the school “until the university reformulates its approach to education by replacing DEI groupthink.”

“The source told Fox News Digital that since the letter was sent, and subsequently reported on by numerous media outlets, Lindseth has received an outpouring of support. Students, professors, and parents have reached out to thank him for sounding the alarm on DEI initiatives to the board, adding that they didn’t feel like their concerns were being heard until he weighed in,” Fox News noted.

Lindseth is concerned with the “toxic” environment that has taken hold at the school.

“A new campus ‘bias reporting system’ fosters a hostile Orwellian environment among neighbors, classmates, and colleagues reporting on one another. The elimination of grades and SATs has created a system in which equal outcomes rather than proven merit has become the objective. This is disastrous for a research university that is built upon academic achievement and aims to educate and train some of our country’s leading scientists, architects, and engineers,” he stated.

Lindseth takes great issue with Pollack’s skewed leadership in the wake of the death of George Floyd in 2020 compared to her weak response concerning the horrendous attacks on Israel last October.

“President Pollack’s shameful recent response to clear acts of terrorism and antisemitism compared with her swift and strong response to the George Floyd tragedy demonstrates that Cornell is no longer concerned with discovering and disseminating knowledge, but rather with adhering to DEI groupthink policies and racialization,” he asserted in his letter.

Cornell Free Speech Alliance is supporting Lindseth’s stance. It is a group of alumni, professors, and students who support First Amendment freedoms on campus, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Lindseth’s letter was first published by the Ivy Excellence Initiative, a new effort launched by nonprofit educational network the Common Sense Society. The Ivy Excellence Initiative was rolled out just last week, and works to bring ‘together alumni groups, dissident faculty, and frustrated donors to hold their universities accountable to pursuing true academic excellence and open inquiry,’ according to its press release,” Fox News reported.


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