Ithaca, NY – Right-wing provacateur James O’Keefe, the man behind “Project Vertias,” has produced a new video targeted at higher education. 

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Earlier this year, O’Keefe released a misleading video portraying Cornell University as being sympathic to ISIS. This new entry is similarly aimed at exposing “political correctness taken to the extreme,” with O’Keefe’s agents this time visiting Cornell, Syracuse and Yale Universities.

The hidden camera footage features a cracking-voiced young woman asking various University officials if they would be willing to remove the constitution from campus. Ultimately, several of the pictured officials are shown ripping or shredding a copy of the Constitution.

Pushing the envelope further, she asks them to rip up the document in front of her, claiming that she is “haunted” and “triggered” by it and seeing it destroyed might be like “therapy” for her.

At Cornell, Lead Title Investigator Elizabeth McGrath was called out as being particularly “anti-constitution,” although she actually defends the idea of passing the document out.

When prompted by the journalist, McGrath explains her view: “I think that the constitution means different things to different people. It is a flawed document and the people who wrote are certainly flawed individuals in my mind…

She continues: “In my opinion the people who voted against same-sex marriage were really out of their minds. But they’re smart people, they went to good schools, they have high intellect, how could they look at this and think that it applies to them and interpret it in just one way? So handing it out on campus, I think, is one way for everyone to see how they interpret it.”

Cornell Responds

A statement released Thursday by Cornell’s Vice President of University Relations, Joel Malina reads:

“The Project Veritas video released today would have you believe an employee was helping a student make a political statement by denigrating the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the video shows a “reporter” misrepresent herself as a student with a mental health crisis.

Under the guise of addressing her mental health issues, the “student” asked the employee to help her shred the document she brought with her that was the apparent source of her anguish.

Whatever personal views she may have shared in order to connect with a “student” who appeared to be in crisis, as an employee of Cornell University she was appropriately focused on addressing the apparently urgent need of the person before her and not on any larger political context.”

Another segment of the video has a Yale official saying he’d look into the rules about “propaganda and obscene materials.” It’s out of context, but the implication the video makes is that Yale might consider the constitution to be subject to one of these rules.

Later parts of the video feature a man in a Constitution costume passing out the document and asking students opinions about it. In an unintended callback to the last political stunt seen at Cornell campus, the man asks a young woman, “Do you love the constitution? Would you want to go to lunch with the Constitution?”

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.