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A Letter to Cornell's Leadership

Dear Cornell President Martha Pollack and Trustees Chair Robert Harrison,

Last weekend, not far from the Walton fairgrounds of the Delaware County Fair, over 720 people gathered in the village

of Delhi to proclaim that Black Lives Matter. By our presence, we pledged to stand up and take action against racism whenever and wherever we saw it. Rallies like it are taking place in small, overwhelmingly white communities across the New York State and the country. Times have changed.

Memorial to Black lives lost to racist policing

For years, we have been asking Cornell University to pay more than lip service to the anti-racist values you claim to espouse. You have made statements, but you have refused to act. There is no more time to wait.

We request that you immediately issue a public statement that Cornell University and all of its extensions will withdraw participation and support from any county fair that refuses to bar the sale and display of Confederate flag and other hate paraphernalia.  

Cornell and the Cornell Cooperative Extension face an urgent moral choice:

  • At THIS moment in history, will Cornell, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension use the power of your institution to END the sale and display of racist hate merchandise at the county fairs you do so much to enable?  Or will you be among the last holdouts, after NASCAR, which recently banned the flag at its events, stating that "the presence of the Confederate flag runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment"?

  • At THIS moment in history, do you want Cornell's name to continue to be prominently associated with events where these racist and dangerous items are sold and defended? 

  • At THIS moment in history, do you think your pleas of powerlessness will be sufficient?  


Christina Hunt Wood, Laura McClure, Krisy Gashler, Mina Takahashi, and Leslie Kauffman

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