Cornell Professor Files Disorderly Conduct Charge Against Colleague Who Disrupted Coulter Event – JONATHAN TURLEY

Cornell Professor Randy O. Wayne has filed a criminal complaint against Monica Cornejo, an assistant professor of interpersonal communication, for her disruption of the recent speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter. As we discussed, Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff extended the invitation after an earlier event was interrupted by protesters and declared that the university would not allow the exercise of free speech to be blocked by activists.  In defiance of that policy, Cornejo proceeded to interrupt the event with heckling and profanities.

In an email, Professor Wayne confirmed that on Wednesday April 17, the day after the event, he filed a criminal complaint with the Cornell University Police. The listed offense was disorderly conduct.

While this was filed with the university police, the state definition of disorderly conduct under § 240.20 states:

A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause
public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk

1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening
behavior; or

2. He makes unreasonable noise; or

3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an
obscene gesture; or

4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or
meeting of persons; or

5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or

6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to
comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or

7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act
which serves no legitimate purpose.

Disorderly conduct is a violation.

Cornejo is accused of repeatedly interrupting and making an obscene gesture at the event before being forced to leave. It is not clear if the university also filed a complaint, but none was listed. Indeed, at the time of this posting, Wayne’s complaint was not listed on the university police website.

Cornejo is described in media reports as “one of the first undocumented tenure-track faculty members at Cornell.” She was interrupting a speech by Coulter titled “Immigration: The Conspiracy To End America.”

In a 36-second video posted by The College Fix officers indicate that she is under arrest for “disorderly conduct.” According to the site,  she repeatedly responded “don’t touch me — do not touch me,” and tells them “I am a faculty member.” (I could not make out the last reported statement on the tape itself).

Putting the criminal charges aside, the question is what Cornell will do about a faculty member who openly defied the free speech policies of the university and sought to prevent others from hearing opposing views. As I discussed in the earlier column, she is just the latest faculty member to engage in such anti-free speech conduct on campuses. Why should students heed the warnings of Cornell when their own faculty show contempt for these protections?

Randy Wayne had a critical role in arranging the visit by Coulter. We have also previously discussed his challenging of universities policies and actions in the past.

A free speech panel is scheduled to be a held on campus on April 23.


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