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Cornell University President Announces Retirement

After seven years in the role, Cornell University President Martha Pollack announced Thursday that she will retire at the end of June.

The announcement comes amid growing pressure on university presidents to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on campus.

In a statement, Pollack highlighted some of the university’s major accomplishments during his tenure. Pollack said she is proud of Cornell’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy in 2021 and the growing number of undergraduate students receiving financial aid .

Despite the unrest on college campuses across the country, she said the decision to retire was hers.

“I understand that there will be a lot of speculation about my decision, so let me be as clear as possible: This decision is mine and mine alone,” Pollack wrote.

She stressed the importance of freedom of expression, the official theme of the school year, even for comments deemed offensive. She said administrators worked to preserve free speech and create “a community of belonging” on Cornell’s campus.

The school year was marked by protests against the government’s response to the war in Gaza. Some students were arrested, others suspended. A group of students still has a pro-Palestinian encampment set up on campus and says it is actively negotiating with administrators.

University officials announced that Dean Michael Kotlikoff would serve as Cornell’s interim president following Pollack’s retirement.