update deskSchools & Higher Education

Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell, to resign after intense campus protests

“I am deeply proud of all we have accomplished together,” wrote the academic leader, who led the administration for seven years.

Martha E. Pollack
Martha E. Pollack in 2017. Credit: Cornell University Photography via Wikimedia Commons.

Martha E. Pollack, the president of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has announced her plans to retire on June 30.

“It is only after extensive reflection that I have determined that this is the right decision,” she wrote in a letter published on May 9. “Indeed, I began deliberating about this last fall and made the decision over the December break; but three times, as I was ready to act on it, I had to pause because of events on our and/or on other campuses.”

Pollack wrote that “there is so much more to Cornell than the current turmoil taking place at universities across the country right now, and I hope we do not lose sight of that.”

The letter named three areas Pollack said she sought to enhance at the university during her tenure: increasing academic distinction, fulfilling civic responsibility and enhancing “our educational verve.”

She wrote, “we have been vigilant in working to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our community from all backgrounds, work I’ve been dedicated to long before the events of the past year.”

In a recent “Campus Antisemitism Report Card” the Anti-Defamation League assigned Cornell a “D,” noting “incidents of antisemitism and other forms of discrimination and harassment prompted the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to open a Title VI investigation against Cornell.”

On a Sunday in October, Hillel at Cornell advised Jewish students to avoid 104 West, the campus kosher dining hall, “out of an abundance of caution” following online threats that included: “If I see a pig male Jew, I will stab you and slit your throat,” “Eliminate Jewish living from Cornell campus” and “Gonna shoot up 104 West.”

In March, the group Alums for Campus Fairness released a brochure urging Jewish students not to attend the academic institution, writing that it “refuses to enforce the student code of conduct, fostering a hostile climate that endangers Jewish students.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates