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Cornell trustee calls for new leaders, criticizing DEI, campus antisemitism

Jon Lindseth cited the “diminished quality” of the academic institution due to “its disastrous involvement with DEI policies that have infiltrated every part of the university.”

McGraw Tower and Uris Library at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., with Morrill Hall and Cayuga Lake in the background. Credit: Dantes De MonteCristo via Wikimedia Commons.
McGraw Tower and Uris Library at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., with Morrill Hall and Cayuga Lake in the background. Credit: Dantes De MonteCristo via Wikimedia Commons.

Cornell University must scrap its “misguided commitment” to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) “because it has yielded not excellence but disgrace,” according to Jon Lindseth, an emeritus trustee of the school and counselor to its president.

In an open letter to Cornell’s board of trustees, Lindseth—described as one of the school’s largest donors—wrote: “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 is one of several generations of Lindseths who are Cornell alumni and invested donors.

Lindseth stated that Cornell president Martha 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.”

“Under President Pollack’s leadership, antisemitism and general intolerance have increased on campus,” he said. “Her lack of leadership in the days following the Oct. 7 massacre is only one of the many examples of poor leadership and failed policies at Cornell.”

He also cited what he called an “Orwellian environment” on campus due to a biased reporting system, and the school’s SAT- and ACT-free application option, instituted in April 2000 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I ask all Cornellians to join me in calling for new leadership and a rollback of the DEI dogma and monoculture now dominating Cornell,” he wrote, calling for the president and provost to be replaced.

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