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GUEST ROOM | Anthropology College Assertion Towards the Interim Expressive Exercise Coverage

Pricey college students,

We write in response to the problems you raised, and to say that we share your issues about Cornell’s “Interim Expressive Exercise Coverage,” which locations vital limitations on political speech throughout our campus. This coverage additionally prescribes disciplinary motion for members of our neighborhood who train the very rights to “free expression” that the College administration has requested us all to have fun this yr. At a second that calls for that we care extra, not much less, about one another and the world round us, the truth that the administration appears intent on intimidating college students, workers, and school and discouraging us all from exercising fundamental rights is deeply troubling. 

The administration claims to assist protest so long as it doesn’t “disrupt” college operations. There’s an absurdity to this declare, provided that the aim of protest is exactly to disrupt — to disrupt routinization, to disrupt apathy, to foreground an issue. A non-disruptive protest is not any protest in any respect. Even bracketing this core confusion, we query the administration’s singular proper to find out which disruptions rely as issues and which rely as options. Police surveillance of peaceable protests, in addition to obvious efforts to intimidate college students by taking down their names and NetIDs for the aim of disciplinary actions which will embody barring them from campus, clearly disrupt the mission of the College. Extra basically, our lives and work have already been disrupted by world occasions and by the College’s response to these occasions. Protests and different expressive actions must be seen as a course correction: a sign that one thing is profoundly fallacious and wishes to alter. This vital engagement with the world is exactly aligned with Cornell’s core dedication to fostering a campus the place we would work towards a extra simply society.