Cornell to comply with 2020 activist student demands, reallocating funds to DEI and 'anti-racism' course requirements

The Ivy League school in New York plans to reallocate funds from existing classes towards new credit classes focusing on an 'anti-racism' agenda.

A group of students and alumni pushed the university for anti-racism programming and center in 2020.

Cornell plans on implementing required anti-racism classes starting in 2024.

The Ivy League school in New York plans to reallocate funds from existing classes towards new credit classes focusing on an “anti-racism” agenda.

In June 2020, after the death of George Floyd, a group of Cornell students and alumni gathered together to create a website, DoBetterCornell. The group demanded that Cornell University implement mandatory DEI coursework for students and programming for faculty. This would allow students to be a part of the hiring process for faculty and would require the creation of an anti-racism center on campus.

[RELATED:‘Bedrock of the university’: Cornell announces free expression commitment for next school year]

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack pushed faculty to approve these demands made by DoBetterCornell and appointed three task forces with the DoBetterCornell students to make comments on proposals written by the dean. 

The final faculty training proposal “requires faculty to understand that structural racism, colonialism, and injustice, and their current manifestations have a historical and relational basis.”

Pollack’s original plan was to divert millions of dollars in tuition from elective courses towards an Anti-Racism Center that would require students to take DEI classes. The school’s faculty approved the Anti-Racism Center which consists of eleven faculty members and ten students and advanced the plan of DEI classes. 

The main goals of the DEI classes, as outlined in the proposal, are for students to “understand that structural racism, colonialism, injustice, bias, and their current manifestations have a historical and geographic basis” and to teach them how to “communicate and advocate across the differences that they are bound to encounter throughout their lives and careers.” The proposal states that “unfair burdens must not be placed on BIPOC faculty and students.”

Different Cornell colleges have independent DEI class plans. Cornell Architecture Art and Planning (AAP) has developed a class called “Creating Justice: The World We Make.” Cornell Brooks School of Public Policy will require all students to take a newly implemented course “Race, Racism, and Public Policy.” 

[RELATED:ANALYSIS: Moves to dismantle DEI programs may actually be ploys to further embed the agenda]

Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations students are required to take Intergroup Dialogue or Foundations of Diversity Dynamics. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Arts College, and Cornell University College of Engineering will also be requiring their students to take a DEI class.

A 1.5 credit hour class “Seminar in Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion” that has been taught since 2020 at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration will now be expanding to a 3 credit hour class. 

Campus Reform reached out to Cornell’s DEI office for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.