Stock photo, courtesy of Cornellalumni.edu, of Tom Reed with Cornell's Big Red Bear

Ithaca, N.Y. — The Ithaca area’s representative in Congress says he is “disturbed” by a video that purports to show a Cornell official supporting a pro-ISIS student club on campus.

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Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the 23rd District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday night with a link to a story in the New York Post.

Reed referenced a video, created by James O’Keefe of the Veritas Project, that shows a hidden camera recording of a Cornell assistant dean.

“This is yet another example showing the culture of extreme liberalism and political correctness that is out of control on many college campuses,” Reed said of the video.

Stock photo, courtesy of Cornellalumni.edu, of Tom Reed with Cornell’s Big Red Bear
Stock photo, courtesy of Cornellalumni.edu, of Tom Reed with Cornell’s Big Red Bear

The video was condemned by President David Skorton, who called the interviewer’s tactics “shameful.” (The Ithaca Voice also published an editorial today in which we called the video “wildly misleading and dumb.”)

Here’s Reed’s statement in full:

“I was disturbed by today’s video appearing to show a dean at Cornell University discussing a club that would support ISIS and Hamas on their campus. This is yet another example showing the culture of extreme liberalism and political correctness that is out of control on many college campuses.”

“It should be clear that there is no place for any organization that supports terror groups like ISIS or Hamas at our colleges and universities.”

That marks a strong divergence from the stance taken by President Skorton.

Here’s Skorton’s statement, made earlier in the day:

“As the president of Cornell University, I want to be clear that the notion that Cornell would allow ISIS training sessions on our campus is ludicrous and absolutely offensive.

Project Veritas, the organization behind this shoddy piece of “journalism” has been repeatedly vilified for dishonest, deceitful activity. It is shameful that any individual would pose as a student facing racial discrimination at another university, ask leading questions on hidden camera about Cornell’s tolerance for differing viewpoints and backgrounds, and then conveniently splice together the resulting footage to smear our assistant dean and our University. After speaking with Assistant Dean Scaffido, I am convinced that he was not aware of what he was being asked.

Let me be clear: Cornell has an unwavering commitment to the free and responsible exchange of ideas. However, we remain vigilant in maintaining an appropriate balance of freedom of expression within accepted boundaries. Of course, incitement to violence is not protected and would never be tolerated on our campus.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.