George Will (Courtesy of Will's Facebook page)

Ithaca, N.Y. — A columnist with The Washington Post criticized Cornell for the number of sustainability courses it offers in an article published on Wednesday.


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George Will, a nationally syndicated conservative writer, argued that sustainability education efforts had “gone mad” on campuses across the country.

“Indoctrination is relentless: Cornell has 403 sustainability courses (e.g., “The Ethics of Eating”),” Will writes. “Sustainability, as a doctrine of total social explanation, transforms all ills and grievances into environmental causes, cloaked in convenient science.”

George Will (Courtesy of Will’s Facebook page)
George Will (Courtesy of Will’s Facebook page)

In referencing Cornell, Will provides a link to programs run by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Though Will’s column cites Cornell’s sustainability offerings as evidence of “progressivism’s dream of ever-more-minute regulation of life,” it’s not clear all the classes he references are related to this topic.

Some of the classes listed by the Atkinson Center as being about sustainability, for instance, seem mostly about the hard sciences or other topics that have nothing to do with politics.

These include: CSS (Crop and Soil Sciences) 2660: Soil Science; ARCH (Architecture) 3820: History of European Landscape Architecture; and BEEE (Biological and Environmental Engineering) 2220: Thermodynamics & Kinetics.

Will’s column — which can be read in full here — ends with a call to action:

Hundreds of millions could be saved, with no cost to any institution’s core educational mission, by eliminating every position whose title contains the word “sustainability” — and, while we are at it, “diversity,” “multicultural” or “inclusivity.”

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Jeff Stein

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