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Cornell University President Martha Pollack steps down after year of turmoil, threats to Jewish students

Cornell University President Martha Pollack is ending her 7-year tenure as the top of the Ivy League college in upstate Ithaca — following months of turmoil together with demonstrations and threats to Jewish students.

The 65-year-old insisted that her departure — efficient June 30 — is unrelated to the anti-Israel protests and brazen shows of antisemitism, insisting that she thought of saying her retirement within the fall and winter.

“I had to pause because of events on our and/or on other campuses,” Pollack stated in her resignation assertion launched Thursday.

President Martha E. Pollack, who oversaw the creation of significant interdisciplinary programs, including a new school of public policy; expanded the affordability and accessibility of a Cornell education; and whose navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic made Cornell a role model for institutions around the world, will retire on June 30
Cornell University President Martha Pollack is ending her 7-year tenure as the top of the Ivy League college following months of turmoil together with demonstrations and threats to Jewish students. cornell.edu

“I understand that there will be lots of speculation about my decision, so let me be as clear as I can: This decision is mine and mine alone.”

Cornell provost Michael Kotlikoff will function interim president starting July 1.

In essentially the most egregious incident, a Cornell University engineering pupil was arrested for threatening to kill Jews on campus final October.

Patrick Dai pleaded responsible final month to posting threatening messages to the Cornell part of an internet dialogue discussion board.

In one other disturbing incident, a controversial Cornell University historical past professor, Russell Rickford, described Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist assault on Israel as “exhilarating” and “energizing.”

The mishandling of claims of antisemitism triggered the ouster of the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard, and now the top of New York’s different Ivy League college — Minouche Shafik of Columbia University in Manhattan — is on the warmth seat over campus rioting.

One of Pollack’s campus critics greeted her introduced departure with a “good riddance.”

History Professor Russell Rickford, who has come under fire for calling the Hamas attacks in Israel energizing, has taken a leave of absence
The 65-year-old insisted that her departure — efficient June 30 — is unrelated to the anti-Israel protests and brazen shows of antisemitism, insisting that she thought of saying her retirement within the fall and winter.

“Cornell has been a campus in turmoil, seemingly rudderless in the face of growing antisemitism fed by hyper-aggressive anti-Israel activism, including an encampment that remains in the main quad,” stated Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson, founder of the right-leaning EqualProtect.org.

“The Board also needs to introduce diversity of viewpoint among the faculty, which has become a monoculture and echo chamber of far left ideology, with almost no dissenting voices left,” he stated.

Pollack stated Cornell — like the remainder of society — over the previous few years had to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd protests and a “terrorist attack and subsequent war that has reverberated across our country and especially across higher education.”

“The latter has raised a number of critical issues that we are all grappling with, from antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry, to free expression, academic freedom, and how to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community,” she stated in her assertion.

“I suspect many of these issues are going to be with us for years to come.”

Cornell University divestment protestors set up this encampment on the University's Arts Quad April 25
Cornell provost Michael Kotlikoff will function interim president starting July 1. Jacob Mack / USA TODAY NETWORK

She defended her dealing with of the divisive protests and threats and stated Cornell has a “solid foundation” to enhance upon.

“We have worked hard to uphold our commitment both to free expression and to being a community of belonging, where everyone is welcome and safe….. We have been vigilant in working to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our community from all backgrounds, work I’ve been dedicated to long before the events of the past year,” she stated.

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