Statement of Solidarity from members of Cornell University in support of the JNU students' movement

Posted by patwari on February 26, 2016 · 8 mins read

We, the undersigned members of Cornell University strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions which have been taken against the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in India. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of the JNU Students' Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university.

That Kanhaiya Kumar is being held on account of sedition, a product of an archaic and colonial-era law (IPC 124A), is shocking and abhorrent. The existence and validity of this law in India has been called into question time and again. This incident reinforces the need to reconsider its continued existence in the Indian constitution.

The agenda of the present Indian government to create a homogeneous discourse of nationalism that privileges an upper caste, Hindu, male worldview is particularly worrisome. There has been a pattern of marginalization and suppression of minority views and dissent. The deliberate targeting of Umar Khalid, and other students as 'anti-national Muslim terrorists' is in keeping with the agenda of the state to create and fight false enemies. This is a dangerous trend and completely antithetical to the democratic and secular ethos that India stands for.

There has been an attempt to brand all students and faculty of JNU as anti-national. This is creating an environment of terror. People are getting arrested and beaten because they look like JNU students, and there is continuous presence of a violent mob at the JNU gates. There have been violent attacks on JNU faculty, reporters, and Kanhaiya Kumar inside the Patiala House court complex, not once but twice, with the police standing by as silent spectators. In addition, the sexual harassment of women protesters (both students and faculty) is repugnant and highly condemnable.

We believe that universities are places of debate, discussion, and dissent for people belonging to various backgrounds and ideologies. This attack on the students of JNU is an attempt to stop any kind of political discourse and discussion in university campuses and among students in India. This is in line with a pattern of state repression that has been visible in other Indian campuses like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), University of Hyderabad, and most recently in Jadavpur University. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing students' movement in JNU to protect campus democracy, autonomy, and the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. We admire the teacher-student solidarity in JNU in the the wake of these protests, and are inspired by it. We extend our wholehearted support to this struggle against state repression in academic spaces.

  1. Debak Das, Government, Graduate
  2. Reet Chaudhuri, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate
  3. Andi Kao, ILR,Graduate
  4. Shiuli Vanaja, Applied Economics, Graduate
  5. Disha Mendhekar, City and Regional Planning, Graduate
  6. Rumela Sen, Government, Graduate
  7. Nidhi Mahajan, Anthropology, Faculty
  8. Arwa Awan, History, Undergraduate
  9. Yagna Nag Chowdhuri , Asian Studies, Graduate
  10. Shivrang Setlur, History, Graduate
  11. Jeff Mathias, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate
  12. James Ingoldsby, English, Graduate
  13. Geethika Dharmasinghe, Asian Studies, Graduate
  14. Bhavya Paliwal, Applied Economics, Graduate
  15. Shubha Bharadwaj, CIPA, Graduate
  16. Shreya Bhardwaj, CIPA, Graduate
  17. Pratiti Deb, Physics, Undergraduate
  18. Kareem Hamdy, Applied & Engineering Physics Alumnus
  19. Nazli Konya, Government, Graduate
  20. Archishman Raju, Physics, Graduate
  21. Tiffany Fotopoulos, Undergraduate
  22. Charis Boke, Anthropology, Graduate
  23. Jesse Goldberg, English, Graduate
  24. Kevin Duong, Government, Graduate
  25. Ti-Yen Lan, Physics, Graduate
  26. Tripti Poddar, Public Administration, Graduate
  27. Marc Kohlbry, Comparative Literature, Graduate
  28. Alana Staiti, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate
  29. Ed Quish, Government, Graduate
  30. Paul Ahrens, ILR School, Graduate
  31. Divya Sharma, Development Sociology, Graduate
  32. Tanvi Rao, Applied Economics, Graduate
  33. Michaela Brangan, English, Graduate
  34. Sena Aydin, Anthropology, Graduate
  35. Sam Whitehead, Physics, Graduate
  36. Philip S Burnham, Physics, Graduate
  37. Van Tran, Government, Graduate
  38. Naoki Sakai, Asian Studies, Faculty
  39. Tim Vasko, Government, Graduate
  40. Jacob Swanson, Government, Graduate
  41. Robert Lincoln Hines, Government, Graduate
  42. Michael Jones-Correa, Government, Faculty
  43. Mitul Dey Chowdhury, Physics, Undergraduate
  44. Stephen Roblin, Government, Graduate
  45. Kaitlin Emmanuel, South Asian Studies, Graduate
  46. Hao Shi, Physics
  47. James Sethna, Physics
  48. Andre Keiji Kunigami, Asian Studies, Graduate
  49. Natalie Nesvaderani, Anthropology, Graduate
  50. Katherine Quinn, Physics
  51. Pauliina Patana, Government, Graduate
  52. Jose Sanchez-Gomez, Government
  53. Nandini, CIPA, Graduate
  54. Xavier Eddy, Industrial and Labor Relations, Undergraduate
  55. Martijn Mos, GOVT, Graduate
  56. Gargi Wable, Nutrition, Graduate
  57. Youyi Zhang, Government, Graduate
  58. Jimena Valdez, Government, Graduate
  59. Brinda Kumar, History of Art, Alumna
  60. Colin Chia, Government, Graduate
  61. Elizabeth Acorn, Government,Graduate
  62. Margaret Jodlowski, Applied Econ and Management,Graduate
  63. Anne Raccuglia, Art, Graduate
  64. Natasha Bissonauth, Art History, Graduate
  65. Hayden Kantor, Anthropology, Graduate
  66. Gustavo Quintero, Romance Studies, Graduate
  67. Lara Fresko, History of Art and Visual Studies, Graduate
  68. Iftikhar Dadi, History of Art, Faculty
  69. Aye Min Thant, Asian Studies, Graduate
  70. Stephanie Clark, AAP, Graduate
  71. Whitney Taylor, Government, Graduate
  72. Sadia Shirazi, History of Art and Visual Studies, Graduate
  73. Prabudhya Bhattacharyya, Physics, Undergraduate
  74. Sibyl Ashcraft-Holt, Classics, Undergraduate
  75. Rebecca John, FGSS, Alumna
  76. Ian MacCormack, Physics, Undergraduate
  77. Christina Zhang, History, Alumna
  78. Daniel Brinkerhoff Young, Philosophy, Alumna
  79. Veronica Pillar, Physics, Graduate
  80. Elliot Padgett, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate
  81. Lea Bonnefoy, Physics, Alumna
  82. Myne Okoukoni, Arts & Sciences, Alumna
  83. David Holmberg, Anthropology, Faculty
  84. Heidi Kaila, Economics, Visiting graduate student
  85. Megan Holtz, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate
  86. Manfred Elfstrom, Department of Government, Graduate
  87. José C., Department of Anthropology, Graduate
  88. James Siegel, Anthropology & Asian Studies, (retired) Faculty
  89. Rebekah Ciribassi, Anthropology, Graduate
  90. Tyler Takaro, Physics, Undergraduate
  91. Joseph Wraga, Physics, Alumna
  92. Farhana Ahmad, City and Regional Planning, Graduate
  93. Brenna Mockler, Physics, Undergraduate
  94. Anthony Santa Maria, Economics; Feminist gender and sexuality studies; Africana studies, Graduate
  95. Caroline Aust, Physics, Alumna
  96. Chelsea Cole, Archaeology, Masters
  97. Tom Davidson, Sociology, Graduate
  98. Daniel Freund, Applied Mathematics, Graduate
  99. Anurag Meshram, ILR, Masters
  100. Janet Smith, DSOC, Graduate
  101. Mel White, Engineering, Graduate
  102. Rohini Jalan, ILR School (OB Dept), Graduate
  103. Max McComb, History, Graduate
  104. Natalie Hofmeister, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate
  105. Benjamin P Cohen, Biomedical Engineering, Graduate
  106. Ewan Robinson, Development Sociology, Graduate
  107. Airlia Shaffer, Physics, Alumna
  108. Laura Menchaca Ruiz, Anthropology, Graduate
  109. Valeria Dani, Romance Studies, Graduate
  110. Brian Clarke, Science & Technology Studies, Graduate
  111. Kelsey Utne, History, Graduate
  112. Sarah Portway, Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Graduate
  113. Lizabeth McKinney, ILR, Graduate
  114. Kristie McAlpine, ILR Human Resource, Graduate
  115. Molly Reed, History, Graduate
  116. Vincent Burgess, Asian Studies, Graduate
  117. Marcela Villarreal, Food Science, Graduate
  118. Sara Keene, Development Sociology, Graduate
  119. Asli Menesve, Art History, Graduate
  120. Nicholas Huelster, Romance Studies, Graduate
  121. Kurt A. Jordan, Anthropology & American Indian Studies, Faculty
  122. Nick Krachler, Industrial and Labor Relations, Graduate
  123. Amanda Denham, FSAD, Graduate
  124. Vincent Hiscock, English, Graduate
  125. Sahar Tavakoli, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate
  126. Satya Mohanty, English, Faculty
  127. Chris Hesslbein, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate
  128. Durba Ghosh, History, Faculty
  129. Robert Travers, History, Faculty
  130. Anne Blackburn, Asian Studies, Faculty
  131. Bronwen Bledsoe, South Asia, Faculty
  132. Lucinda Ramberg, Anthropology, Faculty
  133. Katryn Evinson, Romance Studies, Graduate
  134. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate
  135. Chris Hesselbein, STS, Graduate
  136. Olivia Duell, English and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Alumna
  137. Ujani Chakraborty, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Graduate
  138. Madhura Raghavan, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Graduate
  139. Anaar Desai-Stephens, Music, Graduate


Student Organizations:


  1. Cornell Graduate Students United (Organizing and Steering Committees)