The Cornell Progressive is Cornell University’s premier liberal news and opinion publication and blog. We publish roughly every month for around 8-10 issues per academic year and also sponsors speaker events on campus. We publish with support from Cornell University and Campus Progress / Center for American Progress (online at CampusProgress.org).
Established in 2000 as Turn Left, the name was changed in 2007 to the current Cornell Progressive. During the 2000 presidential campaign between Al Gore and George W. Bush, a trio of engineers sat in Noyes (hardly the modern recreation center of today) discussing politics when the idea came up to create a publication. At the time, the Cornell Review was a powerful, monolithic political voice on campus. “We wanted to counterbalance that,” according to founder Tsee Yuan Lee ’02.
Along with his brother Tsee Yung Lee ’02, both computer science engineers, the two Lees maintained a personal website (thehypeof.com — now defunct) that included a politics section. Thomas Leung ’02, a civil engineer, suggested creating a campus organization so people actually would read their stuff. And so the publication still found all over campus was born.
The first issue on the eve of that fateful 2000 election was a bound magazine. All subsequent editions have been in newspaper format.
The early days were rough for the publication because of a lack of funding. Their first semester, Turn Left has only about $300. ”We were reliant on SAF money, but still dug into our pockets for a substantial portion of the printing costs,” Tsee Yuan Lee related. “We had some successes selling ads to area businesses. We printed an egg donor ad once. [We] had to pinch our noses for that one because of the criteria they laid out, but we were desperate for money.”