January 8, 2008

Cornell Professor Appears on Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returned tonight after nine weeks of reruns due to the Writers Guild of America strike, which is still on-going. The issue dominated the half-hour episode, which featured Cornell ILR Professor Ron Seeber, vice provost for land grant affairs, who was brought onto the show to speak due to “his expertise on strikes.” Seeber spoke about the status of the strikes, the motivations of the parties involved, the nuances of labor negotiations, as well as the reasons the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers can negotiate as a single entity.

The professor’s appearance on the show was not without its detractors, several of whom claimed that the professor, along with Cornell, was disrespecting the strike by appearing on the show.

“A lot of people believe that I should not appear on the show because it harms the cause of the writers’ guild,” Seeber said on the show, implying he received only negative feedback after it was announced he would be a guest on-air.

“Since Professor Seeber holds leadership positions in the ILR School and in the University, it stands to reasons that his appearance doesn’t merely represent that of a Cornell professor but also that of an ambassador for Cornell and ILR,” wrote Jordan Wells ’07 in an email addressed to Seeber and President David Skorton. “Should ILR be taking the producers’ side in this dispute? Should Cornell? Professor Seeber, won’t you, as a professor of collective bargaining and someone coming from a union background, stand with striking workers?”

Prior to Seeber’s entrance onto the show, Stewart’s introduction of the professor included a quip about Cornell being a “safety school,” a few moments before admitting that if he had “gotten good grades or test scores, [he] would have gone to an Ivy League school.”

The video of Seeber’s appearance can be found here and here.

Julie Geng is a Sun Senior Editor. She can be reached at julie.geng@cornellsun.com.

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