“It’s Been the Best Four Years of My Life!” Admitted Student Tour Guides Notably Excluded From Freedom of Speech Protections

HO PLAZA—Hundreds of admitted students accepted to the class of 2028 flooded Ithaca last week for admitted students weekend, hoping to get a real sense of student life, academic workload, and average student hotness. But unfortunately for them, as the “Freedom of Expression” theme year incites discussion of robust free speech and academic liberty across campus, the student population that has been historically most vulnerable to censorship isn’t feeling particularly free to express anything. 

“I looked a 17-year-old girl right in the eyes and told her she’d spend the best nights of her life at Level B fishbowls,” said one tour guide, before bursting into tears. “That was my rock bottom. That sweet, innocent child. She has so much life to live.”

Several tour guides spoke of a culture of fear and “psychological torture” surrounding their speech on the job. “Ryan Lombardi spends all day on guard at the top of the clock tower watching us,” whispered tour guide Lauren Zudek ‘25, looking over her shoulder. “He just stands there and rotates in a circle, so you never know when he might hear you tell someone about grade deflation.”

The tour route itself is designed to avoid any and all potentially probing questions about life at Cornell. The route circumvents all construction sites, any dorm built before 2021, Oakenshields, Ives Hall, all libraries except A.D. White, any student enrolled in the college of engineering, the “football” field, and the pack of Trillium staff smoking behind Kennedy Hall. Allegedly, guides are not even allowed to say the words “Rusty’s Cafe.”

Some tour guides noted that they had hoped things might improve this year given the focus on free speech, but “it turns out that might have just been a ploy to sell ice cream.”

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