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Challenge Cornell University to Remain Neutral on “Cat Wars”

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Should a university take sides in a controversial social and academic issue?

In Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer, Peter Marra calls on communities across the country to “remove all free-ranging cats from the landscape by any means necessary.”

On Monday, December 5, as part of the Lab’s Monday Night Seminar series, Marra will be lecturing and selling signed copies of Cat Wars.

Marra himself has acknowledged his advocacy position is controversial, especially so in light of the fact that cats are America’s most popular pet. So why is Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology rolling out the red carpet for the author? 

Cornell is committed to “support free and open intellectual inquiry and expression,” as indicated in the university’s core values. So where is the alternate point of view? When asked about this, John Fitzpatrick, director of the Lab of Ornithology, was cordial but his response was disappointing: “We currently have no plans to have anyone present an alternate viewpoint to that of Dr. Marra.”

We challenge Cornell to live up to its commitment, and invite an academically qualified speaker to provide balance and perspective to the many controversial claims in Marra’s book, which he’s espoused at other stops on his book tour.

We do not ask Cornell to silence him—or anyone—only to be true to its own core values and its obligation to model neutral inquiry.

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