Cornell University’s Assistant Dean for Students Joseph Scaffido was caught on camera apparently expressing support for Islamic State group in a video (below) shot by an undercover conservative activist.
James O’Keefe of Project Veritas posed as a Moroccan student and approached Scaffido about staring “a humanitarian group that supports distressed communities, a humanitarian group in the Middle East, Northern Iraq and Syria” on the Ithaca, New York, campus. O’Keefe, who used the name Ali, said the group would benefit those in the “Islamic State Iraq and Syria, the families and the freedom fighters in particular and their families,” and suggested sending care packages.
O’Keefe then suggested the proposed group support Hamas, which Scaffido agreed to. “The university is not going to look at different groups and say, ‘You’re not allowed to support that group because we don’t believe them’ or something like that. I think it’s just the opposite. I think the university wants the entire community to understand what’s going on in all parts of the world,” Scaffido said in the video.
Scaffido said a training camp led by a “freedom fighter” would be acceptable. “You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training, a sports trainer or something,” he said.
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After the video was released, Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations, told the New York Post, “Cornell fully supports the free exchange of ideas and does not review or control the political ideology of our students. We do not, of course, tolerate unlawful advocacy of violence, and the comment about training by ISIS (Islamic State) freedom fighters does not reflect university policy.”
Though Project Veritas describes itself as a journalist organization on its website, the Society of Professional Journalists, the industry standard for conduct and ethics, discourages undercover investigation.
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