Cornell Student Government Removes Reps Who Voted Against Disarming Police

Cornell University / Wikimedia Commons
December 15, 2020

Cornell University's student government removed two representatives who voted against a resolution to disarm the police.

On Dec. 8, Cornell's student assembly removed Vice President of Research and Accountability Annie Gleiberman for voting against a bill that would disarm the university's police department. The assembly's executive committee claims that Gleiberman condoned "acts of racism, physical aggression, and emotional violence" by voting against the resolution. Per the student government's rules, a vice president can only be removed through a unanimous vote. When Morgan Baker, another member of the assembly, said she would not vote to remove Gleiberman, the rest of the representatives temporarily removed Morgan using a two-thirds majority vote rule, so that they could unanimously vote to remove Gleiberman.

A previous motion to defund the police had failed after 15 representatives opposed it. Following Morgan and Gleiberman's removal, 13 of those representatives penned an op-ed in the Cornell Daily Sun excoriating the student government for its "brazenly undemocratic display." "The simple fact of the matter is that the executive committee wants to stack the [student government] with loyal allies who will not question their abuses of power and violations of [student assembly] rules," they wrote.

The 13 representatives also claim that the executive committee is planning to selectively use existing but normally unenforced rules on attendance and committee membership to remove members who voted against the "defund the police" resolution. Those fears seem especially warranted after the student body president—who initially claimed to be neutral on the resolution—was discovered to be working with the Abolitionist Revolutionary Society to put pressure on representatives to change their votes.

Weston Barker, the head of Cornell's College Republicans, told the Washington Free Beacon that the student government's actions are unsurprising.

"These individuals are career harassers who have used and continue to use fear, defamation, and their social status to put down any form of dissent," Barker said. "When those tools fail, they will go to any lengths to achieve their ideologically singular Cornell, without any regard for statute, bylaws, or morality."

Gleiberman and Baker did not respond to requests for comment.