An anonymous individual or group distributed flyers featuring Cornell Daily Sun columnist Julius Kairey with the text “Daily Sun Columnist and Racist Rape Apologist” across campus some time during the days of Sep. 17 and 18.
The Cornell Review has been the only campus publication covering the story, after it was made aware of the existence of flyers on North Campus between freshmen residential halls. A student unassociated with their distribution uploaded pictures of the flyers found on north Campus to the popular Facebook page ‘‘Overheard at Cornell.’’
On the night of Sep. 18, fifteen more flyers were found randomly distributed throughout the stacks of Olin Library. It was later reported that more flyers were found in the Catherwood Library in Ives Hall.
Currently, the Review cannot ascertain who is responsible for the distribution of these flyers. Most likely, the flyers were meant to smear Kairey because of his recent Daily Sun articles. Kairey writes a bi-monthly column entitled “Always Right” where he articulates conservative opinions on various topics.
Several national media outlets, including Campus Reform and The College Fix, have published stories about this incident, but the Daily Sun and university administration have been mute.
I do not even know where to start trying to explain how wrong this attack is in every aspect imaginable. My history major peers and others well-versed in politics surely know about the era when politicians and people who stood up against dictatorship in Communist China during the Cultural Revolution were publicly humiliated, their pictures—or the people involved themselves—exposed to the crowd, accompanied by denigrating and objectifying messages. Stalin was also known for using similar techniques on disloyal members of the party, ultimately leading to their execution, or “purge.” It does feel like there is an interesting correlation between totalitarianism and the need to purge dissenting opinions from society.
Perhaps something similar is happening here?
It seems so: the groups fighting for a Communist/Palestinian/Flower-loving/Pansexual/Occupy/Etc. society have gone all the way to publicly shame a fellow student in order to censor him and establish their view as the only version of facts allowed to be discussed on campus.
Every time Kairey publishes his thoughts on controversial issues like racism or rape culture, his articles receive most of the comments on the Sun’s website, mostly as a backlash for expressing conservative views on Cornell’s biggest newspaper. Moreover, most of these comments do not even come in the form of criticism, but mainly as personal attacks, such as “Not only has Cornell failed you, Julius, by allowing you as a student to squeak by with no evidence of ability to think critically or analyze something intelligently, but they are failing the rest of their students and whoever is reading the Daily Sun by publishing a piece like this” in response to his article “Islamophobia and Racism” published early September.
This situation has reached a point in which we must ask ourselves: Why has this gone so far? What are these people’s intentions? Do they pretend to harass this man, and by extension the rest of the campus, all the way self-censorship? Why has Cornell not taken any measures to bring back order yet? I can say that, as a writer in a newspaper that is constantly signaled and discriminated for its views, I support Kairey because I understand how difficult it is to express these view on such a beacon of liberalism like Cornell. And yet, most people keep siding with cowardly groups who shelter behind their shared resentment and dirty pamphlets.
Kairey is of recent the single-most attacked person on campus, yet the Cornell Review is the only newspaper covering a situation of public harassment that should concern the entire Cornell community, but that many people choose to ignore because of who is being attacked. What is really shameful is the fact that those people involved in political life on campus have not risen to defend someone who is being oppressed.
Julius Kairey spoke up, and now we are speaking up for him. I can only say one thing: freedom of speech on campus is in great danger if it is left for fringe groups to control. Nevertheless, I still trust that most of Cornell, that silent majority, will speak up when they will be forced to defend that most sacred freedom.
Andres Sellitto is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.