WILLARD STRAIGHT HALL—In the wake of horrendous hate crimes committed against Asian-American women, Cornell University Administration has reiterated its commitment to improving as an anti-racist institution, as long as they don’t have to focus on fixing more than one thing at a time.
“Last May, in the wake of widespread protests, we put out a statement committing to re-evaluating our curriculum and how we can do better, including implementing resources for minority groups and platforming more people of color,” said John Malch, a member of Cornell’s leadership. “This past week, in the midst of another round of protests, we put out another statement, telling our students how much we disavow these attacks, a full year after they started increasing. Anti-Asian hate crimes rose over 150% in 2020, which we have acknowledged now, in March 2021, because we’re a progressive institution dedicated to addressing problems as soon as they become impossible to ignore.”
Cornell University has a long track record of changing in the face of overwhelming public pressure, from divesting from fossil fuels after widespread protest and outrage, to making Ibrahim X. Kennedy’s How to be an Antiracist available on Canvas after widespread protest and outrage. They also stood by a professor publicly defending police violence and retweeting anti-mask rants, because it’s much easier to admonish 20-year-olds for being irresponsible than it is to hold a tenured professor to account for vocally undermining university safety protocols.
“Look, we’re trying to consider all these issues,” mentioned a prominent administrator. “But we’ve been so busy solving other problems. We addressed the BLM movement with several initiatives, put in safety measures for the COVID pandemic, and then of course we had the whole disarmament thing, which was exhausting. There just wasn’t time to thoughtfully engage with more than one specific type of oppression. I’m sure when another widespread political movement for basic human rights pops up, we’ll be right there with a strongly-worded statement, ready to fight for our public image.”
Asked whether Cornell planned to address the sexism also inherent in recent attacks, the overwhelmed administrator put their head in their hands and said they would address it at a later date, if enough people were still asking about it.