‘Hypocritical’: Pitt Provost announces year of ‘discourse and dialogue,’ despite stifling conservative speech

Provost Ann E. Cudd announced the new theme months after calling conservative views ‘repugnant’ and ‘hate-filled.’

Dylan Mitchell, Pitt’s College Republicans President, said that Cudd is 'hypocritical.'

University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) Provost Ann E. Cudd recently announced the school’s next theme, “Discourse and Dialogue,” despite Pitt’s recent history of seeking to stifle conservative discourse and dialogue.

Cudd announced the news on April 27, revealing that Pitt will use the 2023-24 academic year to focus on “Discourse and Dialogue.”

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“Higher Education as a whole has been at a forefront of engagement around respecting divergent viewpoints—and the right for various viewpoints to find opportunities for expression,” the statement reads

“As a public university, we must and do uphold the principles of protected speech and expression. That is a tradition and an expectation as old as the University itself—and it lies at the heart of free and open inquiry and academic discourse. Let us continue to travel along this critically important path together as a community of learners.”

However, Cudd sent a Mar. 16 email to students that referred to conservative ideas as “repugnant’ and ”hate-filled.”

The email was in reference to the school’s Turning Point USA chapter and College Republicans events featuring Cabot PhillipsRiley Gaines, and Michael Knowles

I want to emphatically state that hate-filled rhetoric is not what our community stands for. I stand for—and with—all Pitt community members, including our trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community members. I affirm not only their right to exist and thrive, but also value their vibrant contributions to our academic community,” the email read.

In response to the perceived double standards displayed by Provost Cudd, Pitt College Republicans President Dylan Mitchell called her out on Twitter for being “hypocritical.”

“Wow. This is really hypocritical coming from the woman who called us ‘repugnant,’ ‘hate-filled,’ ‘offensive,’ and ‘marginalizing’ for hosting an @ISI debate with @michaeljknowles and @brad_polumbo, but has refused to denounce the violent riots and attacks against us,” Mitchell said

The Provost and the university both denounced us for dialogue and discourse, and they encouraged people to protest us,” Mitchell told Campus Reform

“Whether intentional or not,” he continued, “their accusatory, strong, aggressive language against us and encouragement of protestors created an environment where an angry mob of students, faculty, and staff felt it was justifiable to try to shut us down, make death threats against us, assault our guests and police officers, and throw explosives.”

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Mitchell added, “The University of Pittsburgh should frankly be ashamed of itself for the failure of academic rigor that has allowed the appointment of a Provost and administration who have no idea what the words ‘Discourse and Dialogue’ actually mean.”

Similarly, Lili Orozco, Pitt TPUSA President, told Campus Reform she does not “think [Cudd] cares about free speech.”

“I only think she cares about free speech when it aligns with the way she thinks. This is actually hysterical and hypocritical,” Orozco said. 

Campus Reform reached out to every individual and institution mentioned for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow Logan Dubil on Twitter.