Virtue signaling: Cornell University acknowledges being on “stolen land” – but doesn’t return it

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The following article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

ITHACA, NY- Remember—parents of Cornell University students pay just over $60,000 per year in tuition, plus fees, housing, meals and books. What do you receive for the four-year total of over a quarter-million dollars? Liberal lunacy.  

The latest foray into the land of wokedom is something called a “land acknowledgment.”

This is not necessarily a new idea, but suddenly the virtue signaling social justice warriors have gone about feeling the need to “engage with the realities and challenges of oppression,” in particular how “systemic issues, including racism, oppression and marginalization” have impacted people of color, as well as indigenous people.

According to The Spectator, Cornell has now jumped on the woke train. During the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony, a statement was read during which the announcer recognized “the university’s place on the traditional homeland of the Gayogo ho:no’, or Cayuga Nation.”

On Cornell’s website, the University acknowledged the Cayuga “are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America.”

The statement then went on to recognize the “painful history” of the members and “honor the ongoing connection” of them, “past and present to these lands and waters.”

Oh, and the acknowledgment was “reviewed and approved” by the leadership of the members.

As the Spectator asks, what exactly is the purpose of such a statement? Well mostly it’s about virtue signaling; to show how down with the revolution they are. Because clearly, if anyone was indeed victimized, they are no longer here.

In fact, not only are the victims not here now, but Cornell also didn’t even exist back then.

And of course Cornell has offered to return the land and everything on it to the Cayuga’s, right? After all, as The Spectator notes, if the land the university is on had remained with the Cayuga’s, the university would never have been built there, or they would have realized the proceeds from the sale.

The answer to the question is, of course Cornell hasn’t offered to give the land and all the infrastructure thereon to the Cayuga’s. As The Spectator said, “We’re not supposed to have this; you are. But we’re gonna keep it.” Maybe also add, “but we feel your pain and we wrote a nice virtue-signaling statement. You’re welcome.”

In a statement to The Sun, an alumnus of the college, Corey Ryan Earle, was down with the virtue signal:

The story of indigenous communities is part of the story of Cornell University, even though it’s often been left out of official histories in the past.”

The statement was the first in the school’s 156-year history, The Spectator said.

A former American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) Director, Prof. Jolene Rickard praised the university’s new wokeness:

“I thought it was an important gesture by institutions to signal their awareness about several ongoing conditions of settler complacency, or settler innocence, to how the spaces that we work in and live in, in countries like the United States, actually came into existence.”

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She continued:

“I hope it inspires the recognition that almost every place you go in the world, there are indigenous peoples that need to be taken into consideration in terms of how you’re working in development, and how you’re planning.”

Cornell, as might be expected is not the only woke educational institution there is. There are plenty out there.

Example from the San Diego Unified School District, as reported by Christopher Rufo, which offered “racial awareness training” to the district’s teachers:

The training begins with a “land acknowledgment,” in which the teachers are asked to accept that they are colonizers living on stolen Native American land. Then they are told they will experience “guilt, anger, apathy, [and] closed-mindedness” because of their “white fragility.”

And of course, since these teachers were “colonizers living on stolen Native American land,” they also gave up their houses and vacation homes, right? Nope.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Wake County Public School system incorporated a land acknowledgment into a Critical Race Theory indoctrination, er training. According to City-Journal:

The February 2020 conference, attended by more than 200 North Carolina public school teachers, began with a ‘land acknowledgment,’ a ritual recognition suggesting that white North Carolinians are colonizers on stolen Native American land.

Finally in Washington State, last year the state’s largest school system told educators:

We would like to acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands and traditional territories of the Puget Sound Coast Salish People.

Of course, they’re not turning that land back over to said Salish People.

Headed north back to New York, Cornell is looking for “justice”—just not for its white students. For example, the university is requiring all students to get vaccinated—well, not really. Only white students are forced to get vaccinated against COVID, while students of color have no such requirement.

Physical education? According to Campus Reform, Cornell offered a course for the spring semester called “BIPOC Rock Climbing”; white students need not apply.

From the course description, obtained on a web archive:

Come climb with COE and take part in the Cornell climbing community! We will introduce you to rock climbing movement and techniques, belaying, equipment, knots, rappelling, and safety at the Lindseth Climbing Center. Courses ensure a high degree of individual attention and a supportive space to explore the vertical world!

Graduates of this course will have the knowledge and skills to push themselves to new challenges while climbing safely and responsibly. We will also talk about BIPOC individuals and groups in rock climbing.

This class is for people who identify as black, indigenous, Latinx, Asian or other people of color.

Campus Reform continued that when asked for comment, Cornell’s Senior Director of Media Relations and News, John Carberry, issued a statement which claimed that “all Cornell students” are “welcome” to enroll in the course, which is of course in stark contradiction to the course description above.

Carberry tried to spin the original description by saying it showed an “intentional focus” on “outreach and inclusion,” however there was “never” an intention to exclude students that don’t identify as BIPOC.

Carberry continued:

“All Cornell students are welcome to enroll in this course. While the original description of the course represented an intentional focus on outreach and inclusion, there was never an intent to exclude non-minority students. The description of the course has been adjusted accordingly.”

Cornell, however, may find itself in trouble with the state of New York, which specifically prohibits exactly what the university did with the rock-climbing course; from the New York State Attorney General’s website:

“Students in New York schools are protected by federal, state, and local laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other categories.”

Oh, and the cost of the class for the racially discriminatory class? A cool $1800.

Nothing says overturning “oppression” by shaking students down for $1800 to climb fake rocks. 

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