Important Message for Faculty and Instructors

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin the new academic term, I am writing to underscore some of the thoughts I shared last fall around expectations for modeling civic discourse in our classrooms. Many of us have deep personal connections and strong feelings regarding events occurring in the Middle East. It is incumbent on all of us, however, to ensure that we focus on our core missions of teaching and research, and that instructors avoid creating conditions that disenfranchise or intimidate those who do not share their views. Amid these challenging conditions, it is especially important that the university adheres to its core mission and responsibilities to educate, and to respect diverse perspectives.

Cornell is firmly committed to the robust exploration of ideas, with civic discourse a cornerstone of our core value of free and open inquiry and expression. In modeling civic discourse, it is essential that faculty and instructors avoid the use of the classroom, scheduling, or other academic activities to advance personal political views.

Faculty and instructors should conduct their classes and schedule them in a way that is academically appropriate. Canceling classes as a political call to action, or using one's role in instruction to promote a personal or political belief, diminishes our role as educators.

I look forward to an exciting semester together and greatly appreciate everything that we do together to advance Cornell’s mission. Thank you!


Michael Kotlikoff