Cornell University

Campus Call for Free Expression Participating President:

Cornell University

Martha E. Pollack, President

Cornell University President Martha Pollack

“It is critical to our mission as a university to think deeply about freedom of expression and the challenges that result from assaults on it, which today come from both ends of the political spectrum. Learning from difference, learning to engage with difference and learning to communicate across difference are key parts of a Cornell education. Free expression and academic freedom are the bedrock not just of the university, but of democracy.” — Martha E. Pollack

Campus Call for Free Expression Planned Activities

President Pollack has announced a university-wide theme for the 2023–24 academic year, “The Indispensable Condition: Freedom of Expression at Cornell.” Throughout the academic year, students, faculty, and staff will have the chance to come together and engage with topics of free expression and academic freedom through scholarly and creative events and activities that may include reading groups on free expression; debates among invited speakers who model civil discourse; and exhibitions and performances that may span art, film, and fashion. President Pollack will open the theme year with a new student convocation speech that addresses free expression.

About the President

Martha E. Pollack is the 14th president of Cornell University and professor of computer science, information science, and linguistics. She took office on April 17, 2017.

An expert in artificial intelligence with a research focus on natural-language processing, automated planning, and the design of assistive technology for people with cognitive impairment, President Pollack is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. She is proud of Cornell’s unique identity as both a land-grant and an Ivy League university: one that combines the highest standards of teaching and research with an exceptional breadth and depth of expertise across the liberal arts and the professions; honors a foundational commitment to diversity and equity; and embraces both the joy of creative discovery and a mission of knowledge with a public purpose.

Cornell’s academic excellence underpins the university’s success in every aspect, and President Pollack has worked across the university to advance that excellence. By investing in collaborative, cutting-edge research and new, evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning; fostering an inclusive, equitable community; and leveraging the complementary strengths of Cornell’s urban and rural campuses, President Pollack strives to bring Ezra Cornell’s vision of “the first truly American university” forward to meet the challenges of our present and future.

Since taking office, President Pollack has worked strategically to strengthen and advance Cornell’s academic excellence across the university.

The Campus Call for Free Expression is a commitment by a diverse group of college presidents to urgently spotlight, uplift, and re-emphasize the principles of critical inquiry and civic discourse on their campuses. The Campus Call is centered on a coordinated set of presidential and campus activities focused on free expression that collectively amplify higher education’s role in preparing young people to be the empowered citizens our democracy needs.