December 30, 2016

Looking Back: Top 16 Stories of 2016

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As the last days of a tumultuous 2016 tick down, The Sun is taking a look back at some of the year’s biggest stories. From the death of the University’s first female president to the launch of a new business college, Cornell has seen radical change in the last calendar year.

Graduate workers were granted the right to unionize; Ithaca’s mayor proposed a controversial solution to the city’s war on drugs, and a 12 year-old prodigy enrolled at Cornell. Before we enter the new year, join us for a look back on some stories that characterized this year.


1. Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 Calls for Supervised Heroin Injection Sites in Ithaca, Feb. 23    

Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 calls a supervised injection facility the best way to prevent overdoses at a meeting in February.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 calls a supervised injection facility the best way to prevent overdoses at a meeting in February.

Last spring, Ithaca’s young mayor, Svante Myrick ’09, made headlines when he suggested that the city use supervised heroin injection facilities to combat rampant drug addiction. ‘The Ithaca Plan’ has proved controversial and attracted national media attention, but almost a year later, it still faces serious roadblocks.


2. Cornell’s President Elizabeth Garrett Dies at Age 52, Less Than One Year After Assuming Office, March 7  

Hundreds gathered on Ho Plaza Tuesday to pay their respects to President Elizabeth Garrett.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Hundreds gathered on Ho Plaza to pay their respects to President Elizabeth Garrett.

Just months after Cornell inaugurated its first female president, Elizabeth Garrett died of colon cancer. Thousands of Cornellians gathered in a moment of silence on the Arts Quad and at vigils around campus to commemorate the University’s leader.

3. Supporters, Protestors Clash at Donald Trump’s Syracuse Rally, April 18  

Supporters hoist signs at a Donald Trump rally in Syracuse.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Supporters hoist signs at a Donald Trump rally in Syracuse.

The Sun hit the road to cover presidential candidates at rallies in upstate New York in the spring. Here is a look back at President-elect Donald Trump’s rally in Syracuse — from the plethora of Make America Great Again signs to jeers at media members.

4. The ‘Gray Area’ of Consent: Cornellians Share Stories, May 16  


What really constitutes consent? Outside of textbook definitions and even legal boundaries, Cornellians share their experiences with the murky world of consent on campus.

5. College of Business Launch Marks ‘New Era’ of Cornell Education, Dean Says, July 1  


The College of Business launched this summer, promising Cornellians increased collaboration among the three schools it comprises and assuring them the identities of the schools would remain unique.

6. CGSU Celebrates NLRB Definition of Grad Students as Workers With Right to Unionize, Aug. 24 

In August, a NLRB decision provided the momentum for the Cornell Graduate Student Union to move toward unionization. Since then, CGSU has battled criticism about its aggressive recruitment techniques and potential impact on campus life, as it works to gain the membership needed to put unionization to a vote next semester.

7. Are You Smarter Than a 12-Year-Old? Tween Prodigy Enrolls at Cornell, Sept. 14

Jeremy Schuler '20 participates in an interview in Statler Hall alongside his mother Harrey and father Andy.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Jeremy Schuler ’20 participates in an interview in Statler Hall alongside his mother Harrey and father Andy.

Jeremy Shuler ’20 made national news this August as the youngest person on record to attend an Ivy League university. The Sun spoke with Jeremy and his parents about his studies at Cornell and what it’s like to attend college with peers nearly twice his age.

8. Computer Science Growth a ‘Phenomenon’ at Cornell, Sept. 18  

Cornell’s computer science department has experienced unprecedented growth in the past few years, as interest surges from majors and non-majors alike. For students, the trend means crowded classes and long waitlists, but also the promise of a degree with versatile applications in almost every field.

9. Transfer Students Forced to Live in North Campus Lounges, Oct. 3  


Thirty transfer students found themselves without permanent housing at the beginning of the  fall semester, living in high rises lounges due to a shortage of dorm rooms. Although these students’ residential advisors were forbidden to talk to the media, the students themselves spoke about the situation’s impact on their social lives and the inconveniences of the cramped living space.

10. Cornell Students Critique Culture of Careerism, Oct. 12 

Should the purpose of a college education be to prepare for a career or to explore academic interests? Cornellians examine the way undergraduates — often spurred by parental pressure and economic pragmatism — have begun  to overwhelmingly favor pre-professional tracks.

11. Does the Ivy League Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants? Oct. 16   

Asian representation in elite academic competitions has risen dramatically over the past three decades. Their representation at elite colleges has not.

Data Courtesy of Ron Unz

Asian representation in elite academic competitions has risen dramatically over the past three decades. Their representation at elite colleges has not.

In August, the Asian American Coalition for Education levied a complaint against both Cornell and Columbia — accusing the colleges of “systematic illegal discrimination” against Asian American students. The Sun analyzed statistics and spoke with students about the equity of race-conscious admissions policies.

12. Trump Wins; Cornellians Aghast at Shocking Upset, Nov. 9   

Hundreds of Cornellians and Ithacans joined to protest the 'hate speech' prevalent throughout Donald Trump's presidential campaign after the election.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Thousands of Cornellians and Ithacans joined to protest the ‘hate speech’ prevalent throughout Donald Trump’s presidential campaign after the election.

In the early hours after election night, students reacted to Donald Trump’s stunning victory. Much of the campus felt as if it was in mourning as students began to process an outcome they said they did not see coming.

13. University of Michigan Provost Martha Pollack Tapped to Lead Cornell, Nov. 14  

Marthe E. Pollack, provost at the University of Michigan, was named Cornell's 14th president.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Marthe E. Pollack, provost at the University of Michigan, was named Cornell’s 14th president.

Eight months and two interim presidents after President Elizabeth Garrett’s death, the Michigan provost was announced Cornell’s 14th and second female president. Pollack specialized in computer science and engineering, with a focus on artificial intelligence.

14. One Year Later, Administration Has Begun to Meet BSU Demands, Nov. 17    

The Board of Trustees has voted to rename the Plantations the Cornell Botanic Gardens.

The Board of Trustees voted in October to rename the Plantations the Cornell Botanic Gardens.

On the anniversary of the day Black Students United delivered a list of demands to Day Hall, The Sun spoke to members of the group about what progress has been made — notably the renaming of the Plantations — and what work is still to be done.

15. Over 1,000 Cornellians Petition University to Become Sanctuary for Undocumented Students, Nov. 20 

In the wake of the 2016 election, students, professors and faculty members mobilized to protect undocumented Cornellians from potential Trump administration policies. Many private universities are grappling with how they would guard their students while abiding by federal mandate.

16. Overlooked and Unaddressed: Students Recount Fighting Ableism on Campus, Nov. 30    


Cornellians share their experiences with a culture of ableism, encouraging campus and University leaders to more fully embrace the school’s mantra of diversity and inclusion.

  • Alum

    Disgraceful. Murder of a totally innocent IC student on Cornell’s campus was the top story of the past ten years. Inconvenient truth for the Cornell Daily Sun which tried to ignore the story and pretty much succeeded in doing so.

  • Cornell Alum & Parent

    completely agree; 2 deaths on campus in Fall of 2016 but nary a mention. Shame.

  • John Randasso

    BLIND!! The number one two thre and four story of the year was a murder ON the Cornell Campus and , not long thereafter a stabbing.

  • H. William Fogle, Jr., Cornell ’70 (Engineering)

    Yes, the Sun doesn’t count the August 2016 murder of Ithaca College sophomore Anthony Nazaire on the Cornell campus as a ‘big’ story. That’s nothing compared to what you will see this spring: the Cornell Daily Sun will run and hide from the 50th anniversary of the nine arson-homicides at the Cornell Heights Residential Club –murders by a deranged Cornell freshman in the ill-starred College of Arts and Sciences Six-year Ph.D. Program followed by two more incendiary attacks on the same group of students. The Sun dropped this story in 1967 –too embarrassing for the University’s image– and the criminal investigation was strangely slipped into an Orwellian memory hole. Cornell Vice President Steven Muller (1927–2013), Vice President for Public Affairs, protested the University’s “official silence” policy to University President James A. Perkins (1911–1998) in an April 1967 letter, but this cover-up policy prevailed, criminal prosecution was subverted, and all was forgotten.

    Here’s an Ithaca Journal editorial published after the authorities could no longer deny that a murderous serial arsonist was on the loose.

    Ithaca Journal, 02 Jun 1967, p. 6, Editorial: “Fire Information Imperative.”
    The news this week has deepened the bitter tragedy of nine young lives that were lost two months ago in the fire at the Cornell Heights Residential Club.
    It becomes a deeper tragedy because there are now three fires in a two-month period in buildings housing the brilliant youngsters who are members of the six-year Ph.D. program at the university and, in the words of Fire Chief Charles Weaver, “Frankly, it’s just too much coincidence for me.”
    Chief Weaver has made it very clear that he suspects there is a lot more than coincidence involved, although he acknowledges that he does not have concrete evidence to support his suspicion –only the fact that the three fires (the last two fortunately took no lives) all bear a great similarity in time and method of origin– all of undetermined cause at this time.
    What he is saying and not saying at the same time is that we may very likely have a very sick person somewhere in our midst –a person certainly who constitutes a very real danger to the members of the six-year Ph.D. program at the least.
    It is terrifying to think that anyone would deliberately start a fire that could take other human lives –perhaps even lives of persons who are friends.
    If such a person does exist we can only pray that this person is caught, and soon –before other lives are loss to this tragic sickness.
    Certainly anyone with any information about any of the three fires –at the Residential Club, at Watermargin, and at 211 Eddy Street should come forward with it and present it to police now. One way or another, this mystery must be cleared up so this community, and particularly the Cornell community, and more particularly the members of the Ph.D. program can go to bed once more without the fear of waking up again to cries of “Fire!” … or not waking up at all.

    And if you do not believe me you can go on-line and read the following stories published in the New York Times.
    NYT, June 1, 1967: “ARSON SUSPECTED IN CORNELL FIRES; Similarities Noted in Three, Including Blaze Fatal to 9.”

    NYT, June 2, 1967: “CORNELL PATROLS STUDENT HOUSES; Acts After 3 Fires Where Ph.D. Candidates Lived.”

    NYT, June 3, 1967: “INQUIRY NARROWS IN 3 CORNELL FIRES; ‘2 or 3’ Under Investigation, Ithaca Police Report”

    Perhaps the Fourth Estate is closer to its demise than we think.

    H. William Fogle, Jr., Cornell ’70 (Engineering)
    Mesa AZ

    • Deborah Murphy

      Great job, Bill. Let’s hope that other media outlets will pick up the slack and cover the 50th Anniversary of this horrible unsolved crime. People deserve to know the facts, particularly the families of the victims and others who were on campus when this occurred.

  • Deborah Murphy

    I can understand that a 12-year-old prodigy student on campus is considerably more beneficial to annual giving, alumnae support, public relations, and overall image of the Cornell community than the senseless campus stabbing of Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire. I also understand the the memorializing of his young, productive, and apparently happy life falls more on the shoulders of his own college’s newspaper. But the fact that this horrific murder took place on the Cornell campus, in front of a university building designated for student use and after a party organized by a university-endorsed student organization, and then was met with months of unconcerned inaction on behalf of the IPD, Cornell, and the Cornell Daily Sun, is appalling. If Cornell students who attended the party did not come forward with information about the stabbing in a timely fashion, then that’s on them. They’ll have to live with that kind of dishonesty for the rest of their lives. But other students, parents, alums, and staff/employees all deserve to know about events on campus which threaten their education, and, above all, their safety. Shame on the Cornell Daily Sun for not recognizing this story as one of the most important of 2016.