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Stanford Report, September 11, 2002

'Horrified' by Patriot Act, Cordell asks why community reaction was so muted

Before 9/11, LaDoris Cordell, vice provost for campus relations and special counselor to the president, says she took for granted that Stanford was a community where people of differing viewpoints would be accepted -- and not just tolerated.

But since then, she's come to think of tolerance as a treasure. "It's become a much more pressing issue to let faculty, staff and students know that we should not take for granted the notion that we are a tolerant community, that this is a place where people can be safe and where we value diversity."

While Cordell says she has never been a big flag-waver, in the past year she's reconsidered her notion of patriotism. It now means "boldly stepping forward to say to the world, 'I live in a nation founded on principles that respect the rights of all.' The Bill of Rights was enacted to protect the minority, people who have different viewpoints and are not in the mainstream."

She's "horrified" by the broad strokes of the 342-page USA Patriot Act passed last year by Congress. It restricts, among other things, the ability of people to conduct certain kinds of research based on where they come from, she says. "I'm disappointed and a little confused why there was not an outcry on campus about this legislation which so encroaches on our civil liberties and civil rights.

"More than ever, we need to put the Constitution on the front lines."

--Barbara Palmer

LaDoris Cordell

LaDoris Cordell