UPDATE: Cornell commits to punishing students who disrupted Ann Coulter's speech
Cornell University President Martha Pollack confirmed students who disrupted Ann Coulter's speech would face consequences.
She said that it will take 'community pressure' to deter disruptions in the future.
Cornell University President Martha Pollack promised that students who shut down Ann Coulter’s speech earlier this month would face consequences.
Pollack confirmed during a Nov. 15 assembly meeting that the students, who were warned and escorted from the event for preventing Coulter from speaking, would be referred to the Office of Student Conduct” who would then assign “punishments.”
“I will just be honest, I think this was a really stupid move,” Pollack said of the protest in an audio recording obtained by The Cornell Review. “Ann Coulter’s basically irrelevant at this point… and this is exactly what she wanted.”
Campus Reform obtained video of the Nov. 9 event in which students took turns interrupting Coulter’s speech with circus music, fart noises, and loud rants. Security removed eight students from the venue before Coulter decided to end the event early and left the room.
Pollack said she did not “have a good answer to the question of what will deter [disruptions] in the future,” but the topic was discussed with cabinet members.
“It’s something I think we need to continue to discuss as a community,” she said. “I think it’s going to take community pressure. I think it’s going to take a real lot of talking about why we have to have free speech.”
Rodge Reschini, a The Cornell Review writer, told Campus Reform that Pollack’s comments were “encouraging” because of her “willingness to speak to this issue in public.”
“Cornell could have swept the incident under the rug, but it seems the administration is actually interested in the improvement of the campus climate regarding free speech,” he said.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) published a statement from Coulter about her experience which read that she had “never been prevented from speaking at any Ivy League school, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and—until now—Cornell.”
“The students who prevented me from speaking were not engaging in fiery argument, or any kind of argument at all, but the most anti-intellectual response imaginable: whoopie cushions, screaming, and loud circus music—mocking the very purpose of a university,” she continued.
All the parties mentioned in this article have been contacted for comment and it will be updated accordingly.