Cornell University Instructor Cancels Class for ‘Global Strike for Palestine’
A Cornell University instructor who once said Israelis should “rot in the deepest darkest pits of hell” canceled her first class of the semester in solidarity with a “Global Strike for Palestine,” an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows.
Alyiah Gonzales, a Ph.D. student at Cornell who teaches an English class on “race, writing, and power,” emailed her students Monday to say she was “canceling class in solidarity with collective calls for a Global Strike for Palestine,” according to a screenshot of the message. Gonzales in her email said she “mourn[s] the fact that all universities in Gaza have been destroyed or demolished by Israeli military forces.” In lieu of class, she asked her students to write an essay on “the relationship between writing, power, and systems of oppression.”
Gonzales’s message comes as Cornell and other Ivy League institutions grapple with a federal investigation into anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In late October, a Cornell junior was arrested and charged with posting anti-Semitic threats online—in one message, the student allegedly said he would “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig Jews.” Cornell history professor Russell Rickford, meanwhile, praised Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel during a campus rally, calling it “exhilarating” and “energizing.”
While Rickford went on leave after a video of his comments surfaced, it’s unclear whether Gonzales will do the same. A Cornell spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on whether the school plans to discipline Gonzales, instead pointing the Free Beacon to a Tuesday afternoon statement from provost Michael Kotlikoff. That statement, which was sent to Cornell faculty and instructors, did not mention Gonzales by name but did refer to “canceling classes as a political call to action.”
“Faculty and instructors should conduct their classes and schedule them in a way that is academically appropriate,” Kotlikoff said in his statement. “Canceling classes as a political call to action, or using one’s role in instruction to promote a personal or political belief, diminishes our role as educators.”