Update on unauthorized encampment on the Arts Quad

Free expression is a core value of our university, and the right to peacefully protest on our campus has a deep and respected history. However, such protests must respect the rights of others to teach, learn, and work without undue disturbance. These protests must also comply with our individual and collective responsibilities to avoid unlawful discrimination and harassment.

Cornell has content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions that have been formulated to provide these protections for all members of our community. For this reason, when members of our community established tents in the Arts Quad, they were asked to move to the Sage Chapel/Day Hall area where noise would not disturb classes, people who wished to avoid the encampment could easily do so, and other registered events on the Arts Quad could be held. This offer was repeatedly rejected, as were appeals to limit amplified sound and further disturbance. Instead, the encampment organizers called for its expansion.

We have issued immediate temporary suspensions for several student participants in the encampment, and are preparing to issue additional suspensions, as well as referrals to HR for employee participants. We have similarly suspended the student group that submitted an application for an event under false pretenses, stating that it would not include tents and would end at 8 p.m. None of these students have been denied housing or dining privileges, nor access to student health services.

We are also deeply distressed by chants made at some of the rallies near the encampment, particularly the phrase, “There is only one solution: Intifada Revolution.” The protesting group has repeatedly stated that their protest is political and not antisemitic, but these chants belie that claim. We implore all Cornellians to consider the impact of their words as well as their intentions as we navigate the immense pain and suffering that many are experiencing.

Joel M. Malina
Vice President for University Relations